Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Legislative District, the State Capitol, and the progress on my "Promise to Pennsylvania," a pledge to advance government reforms, enact meaningful lawsuit abuse reform, eliminate wasteful state spending, and cut taxes. If you haven't done so already, please take a few moments to visit my website at www.senatorfolmer.com to learn more about issues that may affect you and your family.
Week of February 13, 2012
Governor's Budget Address
Governor Corbett outlined his 2012 – 2013 state budget, a $27.14 billion spending plan which calls for a 0.1 percent reduction in spending from current levels. The General Assembly will be in recess while the House and Senate Appropriations Committees conduct public hearings on the plan.
I applaud Governor Corbett's efforts to try to get state spending under control. We cannot and should not look at more spending, more taxing, and more borrowing without critically analyzing each government-funded program to ensure we are squeezing every penny out of every tax dollar. In response to competition and shrinking resources, businesses, schools, churches, charities and households have been forced to restructure and refocus their spending, and now government must do the same.
Visit my website to get an idea of how much of your tax dollars the state spends every second.
Marcellus Shale Bill Sent to Governor
After more than three years of discussion, the Senate (31 – 19) and House (101-90) passed and sent to the governor House Bill 1950, legislation that would impose an impact fee on gas drillers, strengthen environmental safeguards, and regulate the Marcellus Shale industry in Pennsylvania. I supported this measure because I believed it was the best compromise for addressing the many issues surrounding drilling.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the County Commissioners Association, and the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors were among the many diverse groups supporting this measure. Failure to act on the bill would have continued the gridlock on this important issue, which few wanted.
The Senate also concurred (49 – 1, Senator Eichelberger voting no) in House amendments to Senate Bill 1237, legislation to add new Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZ), tax free areas designed to promote economic development. The bill is now with the governor.
Senate Bill 894, which gives Townships of the Second Class the option to purchase supplemental Medicare insurance coverage for eligible supervisors, dependents, and employees (instead of higher-priced health insurance plans), was also sent to the Governor.
Bill Signed by the Governor
Senate Bill 1375 to extend unemployment compensation benefits into law as Act 10 of 2012.
Bills Pass Senate, Sent to House
The Senate passed (48 – 1, Senator Ferlo voting no) Senate Bill 117, legislation which authorizes people who sell alcoholic beverages to confiscate false identification cards. Senate Bill 405, legislation to require the assessment of a business privilege tax only on those entities that maintain a permanent place of business or base of operations in the taxing jurisdiction, was passed by a vote of 34 – 16, and Senate Bill 1147, a bill which provides for egg movement permits, passed unanimously. The bills are now in the House.
Please feel free to contact me at any time on state-related issues that are of concern to you. I may be reached through my website or my Lebanon or Harrisburg offices.
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2012 © Senate of Pennsylvania