This week I had the pleasure of having the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors and Pocono Mountains Association of Realtors in my office to discuss property tax reform and a host of issues impacting private property rights.
Last week, the General Assembly passed emergency funding bills that would provide much needed funding to schools and social service agencies while negotiations on enacting a full budget continue.
It was an attempt to spare these entities further pain caused by Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of a balanced budget on June 30. This week, the governor vetoed this emergency funding. He apparently believes that withholding funds from schools, rape crisis centers and food banks will pressure legislators into accepting his demands for record tax increases.
The Auditor General reported that school districts statewide might have to borrow about $500 million in October for expenses usually covered by state funds. If the impasse goes past Nov. 1, estimates say they might have to borrow about $1 billion, with the number continuing to climb. And taxpayers will have to pay the interest on those loans.
The governor likely does not have the votes in the legislature to pass his record tax and spending increases. To further complicate a final agreement, many lawmakers of his own party oppose his budget – which received zero votes in the House earlier this year. We’ll know for sure where progress on a final proposal stands next week when the House of Representatives will hold a vote on the governor’s tax plan.
Unfortunately, Gov. Wolf has chosen to hold schools and social services hostage to a final budget negotiation. It’s my hope that a reasonable budget is agreed to soon that boosts school funding without massive tax hikes.
On Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. I’ll be on the “Gary in the Morning Show” on Pocono 96.7 to share local and Capitol news and to answer your call-in questions. Tune in to Pocono 96.7 on your radio or stream live at Pocono967.com, and call in (570-420-9670) with your questions.
This week I joined Senators Argall, Boscola, Browne, Scavello, Schwank, and Yudichak on a joint op-ed regarding our continued school property tax reform efforts.
As co-sponsors of Senate Bill 76, the Property Tax Independence Act, we wrote this letter to update constituents throughout the region as to the current progress of school property tax reform and is a prominent example of bipartisanship as state budget negotiations continue.
Legislation to reduce the use of fresh water in oil and gas drilling operations was approved by the Senate on Tuesday and sent to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
Senate Bill 875 clarifies legal liabilities associated with the use of treated mine water in oil and gas operations. The use of treated mine water holds the potential to significantly decrease the use of fresh water in the natural gas extraction process, reducing the withdrawal demand on Pennsylvania rivers, lakes and streams.
The legislation does not weaken any existing environmental safeguards designed to protect public health. It would only clarify parties that could be held responsible if the mine water is not treated or utilized properly.
The Senate sent two other bills to the governor’s desk this week.
Senate Bill 513 allows the vehicular transportation of leachate discharged from a municipal or private landfill's collection and handling system.
House Bill 33 amends the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code to permit alternate members for planning commissions.
The Senate approved two bills that will allow out-of-state visiting athletic team physicians to treat athletes during athletic events without the need for a Pennsylvania medical license.
Many teams in Pennsylvania and around the country employ medical personnel who travel with the team and coaches for the purpose of providing medical care. These team physicians have established medical relationships with the athletes and are well suited to provide care while teams are competing. 21 states currently allow for visiting team physicians to practice in their state without meeting home state licensing requirements.
Senate Bill 685 and Senate Bill 686 amend state laws to allow out-of-state visiting athletic team physicians to treat athletes during athletic events without the need for a Pennsylvania medical license as long as they are licensed in their home state and have an agreement with the visiting sports team to provide care for them while traveling.
Senate Bill 785 clarifies that buildings, whether permanently attached to land, water, gas, electric or sewer facilities or not, are subjects of taxation for real estate tax purposes.
House Bill 823 amends Act 164 of 2014 regulating local Tax Collectors to make it easier to fill vacancies, expand the criminal history checks, and more. The bill returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Senate Bill 898 provides clarification on provisions that require the adjustment of property tax rates following a countywide reassessment in Second Class Counties to make them revenue neutral.
Senate Bill 899 provides clarification on provisions that require the adjustment of property tax rates following a countywide reassessment in Second Class Counties to make them revenue neutral.
On September 30th, we honored Thomas Bordigon for his 46 years of service to Kiwanis Delaware Water Gap Country Club.
The Senate returns to session Tuesday, October 14. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.
If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.MarioScavello.com for more information about your state government.
Senate Box 203040
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3040
Phone: (717) 787-6123
Fax: (717) 772-3695
Monroe County Office
2989 Route 611, Suite 103
Tannersville, PA 18372
Phone: (570) 620-4326
FAX: (570) 620-4379
Monday - Friday
9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Northampton County Office
2 North Robinson Avenue
Pen Argyl, PA 18072
Phone: (610) 863-1200
FAX: (610) 863-1214
9 a.m.- 5 p.m.