Jun. 28, 2019


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News You Can Use

 The latest news from the State Capitol

Good Budget News for Taxpayers

On Tuesday, I joined a bipartisan majority of my House colleagues in passing the 2019-20 state budget proposal. The $33.99 billion spending plan increases education funding to historic levels while keeping spending growth in line with the rate of inflation and without raising taxes or fees for hard-working Pennsylvania residents and seniors.

The work we’ve done in recent years to control spending and hold the line on taxes has contributed to Pennsylvania’s improving economy. That trend continues with this budget proposal, which adequately funds our priorities without placing a heavier burden on taxpayers.

Because of our fiscal restraint, we are able to deposit about $300 million into the Rainy Day Fund, adding to last year’s $22 million payment, which was the first installment in more than a decade.

The proposal sets a new high of $12.8 billion for preK-12 education. There is an additional $160 million included for basic education, $50 million more for special education and a $25 million increase for early childhood education. In addition, we’ve included $60 million to continue funding safety grants for school districts statewide.

This budget frees up tens of millions of dollars for highway and bridge projects by reducing the amount of funding to be shifted from PennDOT’s Motor License Fund to the state police, which will receive an additional $97 million from the General Fund and nearly $10 million for three new classes of cadets.
Agriculture Programs Get Budget Boost

Programs that benefit Pennsylvania’s top industry – agriculture – received a 13% funding increase in the 2019-20 budget. Recognizing the importance of animal health, new line items devote $2 million to the Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission and $1 million to livestock and consumer health protection. The spending plan also restores funding for programs eliminated by the governor’s proposal, including agricultural research; agricultural promotion, education and exports; hardwoods research and promotion; and the livestock and open dairy shows.

In addition, a comprehensive package of bills to help the agriculture industry grow and thrive are awaiting the governor’s signature. The initiatives aim to protect the Commonwealth’s food supply and animal health, and combat threats to both crops and livestock; assist farmers with the cost and expertise to further implement best management practices on their farms; support the dairy industry; educate young people about the importance of agriculture; and prepare the next generation of farmers. Learn more here.
Celebrating the 19th Amendment

On Monday, I joined a number of my House colleagues in wearing white in observance of the 100th anniversary of Pennsylvania’s ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. I also took part in a celebration that took place in the Capitol Rotunda.
Mrs. Patmore Visits the Capitol

British actress Leslie Nicol, who played Mrs. Patmore on the popular TV show Downton Abbey, visited the Capitol this week in support of Victoria’s Law, legislation that would ban the sale of commercially raised dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores across Pennsylvania. Victoria’s Law is named for a German Shepherd who was mercilessly overbred for 10 years at a puppy mill and passed along an incurable, genetic disease to more than 150 puppies.
Bringing State Government to You

On Wednesday, July 3, a member of my staff will be holding satellite office hours at the Dalton Borough Building, 105 W. Main St., from 9-11 a.m.; then at the Factoryville Borough Building,161 College Ave., from noon to 2 p.m.

Also on Wednesday, July 3, an American Legion consultant will be available to assist veterans at the Tunkhannock district office, 133 W. Tioga St., Suite 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. by appointment only. Please call 570-836-4777 for information.

Please note that my district offices will be closed on the July 4th holiday
In the District

Tunkhannock’s Founders’ Day is always a wonderful community event, and this year’s celebration last Saturday was no exception with plenty of great food and family fun. It was a pleasure to visit with many of the vendors, including the Blue Star Mothers, the American Legion Auxiliary (of which I am a member) and the folks with Little Eric’s Foundation.

The Dallas Rotary and the Luzerne County Fair co-hosted another successful Wine/Craft Beer Fundraiser on Saturday. Both organizations are famous for their community outreach programs.
Fish for Free on Independence Day

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is hosting the second of its two annual Fish for Free Days on Independence Day, Thursday, July 4.

This is a great opportunity to try your hand at fishing in any of Pennsylvania’s waterways, even if you don’t have a license.

Both residents and non-residents are eligible. Just make sure you follow all other fishing regulations.

For your convenience, there are even opportunities to borrow equipment from certain sites at state parks and other locations. You can find those locations by clicking here.
Independence Day Reminders

A few important reminders as you plan to celebrate our nation’s independence next week!

If you’re traveling, check out www.511pa.com. Free and available 24 hours a day, the site provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 950 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

PennDOT will also close its driver license service centers on Thursday, July 4. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services at www.dmv.pa.gov.

Have a safe and happy July Fourth!

Our District

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Office Locations
105 Lieutenant Michael Cleary Drive, Dallas, PA 18612 | (570) 675-6000, (800) 278-3930
133 West Tioga Street, Suite 4, Tunkhannock, PA 18657| Phone: (570) 836-4777
41-B East Wing, Main Capitol, PO Box 202117, Harrisburg PA 17120-2117 | Phone: (717) 787-1117
Email: kboback@pahousegop.com