In this Edition:
Update on the State Budget
Senator Mensch enjoyed visiting and touring Rockland Immunochemicals for Research in Limerick.
Update on the State Budget
“I want a fight,” Gov. Wolf said after he vetoed the emergency funding on September 29, one day short of three months when he vetoed the original budget. In my opinion, there’s been enough fighting. But Gov. Wolf guaranteed he’d have a fight when he proposed the largest tax increase and the steepest increase in spending of any Governor in Pennsylvania history.
He got his fight when the Independent Fiscal Office reported that its analysis of the Governor’s budget “finds a net tax increase for all groups.” He got his fight when his own data showed that taxpayers in 401 of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts will pay more in sales and personal income taxes than receive in his temporary property tax reductions. The people of PA have understandably fought back against the Governor’s unprecedented 30 percent tax increase.
When the Governor vetoed pension reform legislation addressing the number-one cause of school cutbacks and property tax hikes, he got his fight. When his “compromises” proved to be lacking in seriousness – “a revised liquor store privatization plan lacking only actual privatization, and a revised pension reform plan lacking only actual reform,” according to one newspaper -- he prompted yet more fighting.
Was there any doubt he would have a fight when he demanded an increase in sales and income taxes that would result in $4.7 billion in new taxes for residents and businesses? He had his fight the minute he proposed raising taxes by $12 billion over the next two fiscal years – an additional $1,000 for every man, woman and child in Pennsylvania.
Three months after vetoing a balanced budget that increased education funding without raising taxes, Gov. Tom Wolf has pulled out the veto pen again, this time rejecting stop-gap emergency funding aimed at easing the pain caused by his original veto.
The three-bill package would have provided $11.2 billion in state allocations, releasing more than $3.1 billion presently withheld from schools and restoring funding for critical programs and services. It represented one-third of the state funding as authorized by the budget the governor vetoed in July. This stop-gap budget also allocated the federal money Pennsylvania administers for schools and local governments.
Why would Gov. Wolf continue to withhold funds from schools and rape crisis centers, food pantries and foster families? Why would Gov. Wolf continue to withhold funds from seniors and veterans; from students and teachers; from people in need who require Medicaid provided services? Why would this Governor withhold $30 billion of federal funds for schools, transportation and highways, human services and veteran services? Why? Why?
Only Gov. Wolf, and a handful in his administration understand the answers to his actions. From every indication I have though, there is neither taxpayer nor legislative support for the Governor’s tax proposals. It would appear his only course of action is to continue to withhold budget approval so he can inflict as much pain as possible, and thereby hope for a legislative collapse to approve his draconian tax proposals.
Taxpayer comments to my office are running at least 90 percent opposing the Governor’s taxes. I am one of those 90 percenters; and realizing there is such a majority of taxpayers against the Governor’s demands, I cannot see any answer to his actions unless he decides to stop looking for a fight, and instead decides to lead by coming to the table to negotiate with his legislative peers.
My latest survey featured questions which focused on the budget impasse and important PA issues. Over 150 people participated in the survey and I encourage you to review the results at: http://www.senatormensch.com/files/2015/10/budget-2015-survey-results.pdf.
Child Protection Background Check Seminar
Veteran ID Event
I am pleased to announce that I will be hosting my second veteran ID event for veterans and their families on Friday, October 30, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Skippack Township municipal building which is located at 4089 Heckler Road, Skippack, PA 19474.
The event will feature Nancy J. Becker, Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds, who will be issuing ID cards to veterans. The ID cards will enable veterans access to discounts at over 400 Montgomery County businesses. Veterans must bring their DD-214 papers and photo identification to receive the discount card.
The event will also feature information and assistance from:
My staff will also be available to assist with questions on state-related issues as well as search the Unclaimed Property Bureau database to locate potential unclaimed property listings. There is no registration for the event. If you have any questions, please call my office at 215-541-2388.
Veterans Appreciation Breakfast
Veterans are invited to attend my annual Veterans Appreciation Breakfast which will be held on Saturday, November 7, 2015 from 7:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at the Upper Perkiomen High School, Two Walt Road, Pennsburg, PA 18073. The event will feature Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick, Congressman Ryan Costello, and State Representatives Justin Simmons and Marcy Toepel. The guest speaker for the event will be Captain Joanne Powell-Smith.
Veterans must register themselves and up to one guest by contacting my office at 215-541-2388 or online at www.senatormensch.com/veterans-appreciation-breakfast. Registration will begin at 7:45am and breakfast will begin at 8:30am.
Protect Yourself, Protect Your Money
Constituents are invited to attend my “Protect Yourself, Protect Your Money” seminar on Friday, November 13 which will feature special guest speaker Katrina Boyer, Consumer Outreach Liaison at the Pennsylvania Department of Banking. Ms. Boyer will discuss some of the top financial scams targeting consumers and investors, including how to identify a Ponzi scheme, home improvement scams and affinity fraud.
The event will take place at 10am at St. Luke Knolls located at 1 Knoll Lane, Gilbertsville, PA. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP by calling 215-541-2388.
We have additional events in the 24th district that are fast approaching. Simply visit the events page on my website or call my Red Hill office at 215-541-2388 to find out if there are any events that pertain to you and your interests.
Senator Mensch recognized Richlandtown Borough’s 125th anniversary with a proclamation during their community day on September 19.
Outreach Opportunities at My Red Hill District Office
I encourage you to review the list of organizations that will be visiting my Red Hill district office in the near future to offer their assistance and services at a location closer to you. Please be sure to review the instructions on how to set up an appointment with the individuals listed below:
PA CareerLink of Montgomery County – Veterans Employment
Robert Clark, Veterans Employment Representative, from the PA CareerLink of Montgomery County will be available on October 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at my Red Hill office to offer employment services to veterans who have any of the six significant barriers to employment (SBE).
The DVOP 6 Significant Barriers (SBE) are listed as:
Constituents are required to contact Robert Clark at 610-270-3429 x227 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment at the office and fulfill screening requirements.
Montgomery County Veterans Affairs
Jamie Waite, Service Officer, for the Montgomery County Veterans Affairs office will be available on October 13 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at my Red Hill office to offer assistance to veterans. Jamie Waite can assist veterans, their dependents, and survivors regarding their rights and the various county, state, and federal benefits they may be entitled to receive and assists them to apply for these benefits. In addition, she can screen for presumptive conditions that veterans can claim for disability, provide eligibility information on VA healthcare and more.
Constituents are required to call Jamie Waite at 610-278-3285 to set up an appointment.
US Senator Pat Toomey
Imani Johnson, Field Representative for Southeastern Pennsylvania, from the office of US Senator Pat Toomey will be available on October 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at my Red Hill office to offer assistance on federal issues or with federal agencies, such as Veterans Administration, social security and the IRS.
Constituents are encouraged to call 215-241-1090 or email Imani at Imani_Johnson@toomey.senate.gov to set up an appointment. Walk-ins will also be welcome. Constituents are required to complete a privacy release form prior to meeting with Imani Johnson.
PEMA Urges Citizens to Utilize Free Smartphone App to Prepare for Emergencies
Pennsylvanians can use free tools available from the ReadyPA app to take simple steps to make sure they’re ready for any type of incident.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) notes that simple steps
can be taken now to prepare a family, school, workplace or community for any
type of incident that would disrupt the day-to-day routine. Citizens are
encouraged to download the free ReadyPA app for Apple or Android or visit
www.ReadyPA.org to find sample checklists, contact lists
and other preparedness tools to take advantage of before an emergency.
Graterford Road Bridge Update
Due to the urgency to reopen Graterford Road, this bridge will be the first structure to move to construction. PennDOT’s contractor has been busy preparing for the on-site work and construction is expected to start in November. The Graterford Road Bridge is scheduled to reopen to traffic in late April 2016. I will continue to closely monitor and push this project forward.
The Mensch Report
This edition of The Mensch Report features Pennypacker Mills, a Montgomery County operated park in Perkiomen Township.
Pennypacker Mills is an unusually well documented historic site where you can see what it was like to live in the early 1900s. With a unique original collection, the mansion is fully furnished with antiques collected and documented by former Pennsylvania Governor Samuel W. Pennypacker reflecting his interests in early Pennsylvania history, German and Dutch settlers, Native Americans, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. The collection also includes Governor Pennypacker’s political (1903-1907), genealogical and personal papers.
I invite you to join me on a tour of this historical site.
Twitter and Facebook: I post regular updates on legislative action, committee developments, useful state-related information, happenings in the 24th Senatorial District and more on Twitter @SenatorMensch and on my Facebook page.
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