In this Update:
This Week’s Survey Question
Please take a moment to answer this week’s survey question.
“With this week being small business week, we ask the question of: Where do you prefer to shop?”
Mensch Op-Ed: Republicans Must Once Again Shield Pennsylvanians from Gov. Wolf’s Reckless Spending
Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24)
For seven years, Republicans have shielded fellow Pennsylvanians from massive tax hikes and overspending by Gov. Tom Wolf. Now, following his final budget proposal, it’s clear we must do so again.
Gov. Wolf’s proposed 2022-23 state budget would increase General Fund spending by $4.5 billion to $45.7 billion. $2 billion of which is federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) spending, including the expenditure of federal dollars returned to Pennsylvania during the pandemic. The governor’s budget represents a 10.9% increase in spending.
Based on Senate Appropriations Committee budget projections, the governor’s plan will produce a $1.3 billion deficit for the 2023-24 fiscal year. This will create an even bigger bill for Pennsylvania taxpayers long after he leaves office in January 2023, because of inflated revenue estimates and understated spending. The plan creates a $13 billion deficit by 2026-27.
Gov. Wolf says he is not proposing any tax increases, but that is misleading on two fronts: first, the projected deficits will require a tax hike next year and into the foreseeable future; and second the governor continues to unilaterally forge ahead with plans to impose a carbon tax on energy producers. That cost, possibly as much as a 30% increase on goods and energy, will be passed on to consumers, who are already struggling to get by in the face of 40-year high inflation.
The root of the problem is Gov. Wolf wants to spend all the one-time federal money and proposes to use it for recurring expenditures. This is a reckless violation of Fiscal Policy 101. We saw similar disastrous results in 2008, and we cannot allow a recurrence of the same reckless spending.
In 2015, the General Assembly protected taxpayers from Gov. Wolf’s record $4.5 billion tax hike proposal in his first budget, and continuously have stopped Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget and tax increases in every subsequent year. Through the efforts of the General Assembly, fiscal order and accountability have been restored and state finances are to good standing. We have finally erased the structural deficit, but Gov. Wolf’s efforts would recreate a structural deficit and return us to the years of difficult budgets.
Republicans in the General Assembly will continue to shield our citizens from the consequences of the Gov. Wolf’s irresponsible budget proposal.
State Sen. Bob Mensch represents the 24th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Montgomery, Bucks and Berks counties.
2022 Municipal Meeting-Lower Salford
I would like to thank everyone who was in attendance this week and I hope you found the meeting to be informative and worthwhile. I look forward to my future Municipal Meeting discussions.
Senator Mensch Visits LifeSpan School & Day Care in Quakertown
This morning, I was given the opportunity to read “Twas the Night Before Kindergarten” to the Pre-K students at LifeSpan School & Day Care. I would like to thank the staff and children for welcoming me into their classroom. It truly was a treat to see the positive interaction between myself and the students.
Senate Republicans Continue Statewide Hearings on Rising Crime
Local police chiefs, prosecutors, addiction recovery experts and others met with the Senate Majority Policy Committee in Lancaster this week as part of Senate Republican public hearings on rising crime in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania has the highest violent crime rate of any state in the Northeast, according to FBI data. Between 2019 and 2020, no other state reported a greater year-over-year increase in violence. Driven by spikes in aggravated assault and homicide, Pennsylvania’s violent crime rate climbed 27.1% from 2019 to 2020.
Chief David Steffen of the Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Department told the committee that the national media’s consistent coverage of emotional, high-profile and statistically rare cases of officer-involved shootings portrayed as the norm has created a foundation of mistrust in law enforcement.
Columbia Borough Police Chief Jack Brommer said recruiting new officers to the force has become increasingly difficult, particularly as anti-police rhetoric rises.
According to Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams, Lancaster County is a hotspot for human trafficking, an insidious crime that contributes to other types of community lawlessness.
A top priority for Senate Republicans is to ensure Pennsylvanians feel safe in the towns, cities and communities they call home. These hearings will help legislators better understand the trends in crime from law enforcement and key stakeholders, and better align the Commonwealth’s economic goals with community objectives throughout the state.
The next hearing on crime and public safety will be announced in the near future.
Deadline to Request a Primary Election Mail-in Ballot is May 10
If you plan to vote using an absentee or mail-in ballot in the upcoming primary election, your completed application must be received by your county board of elections office by Tuesday, May 10, at 5 p.m.
You can apply for, complete and return mail ballots in person in one visit. County election officials will verify voter eligibility, then provide a ballot, which you can immediately complete and return. To vote by mail-in or absentee ballot, voters must supply proper identification.
The deadline to return your voted absentee or mail-in ballot is 8 p.m. on Election Day, May 17.
Less Than a Year to Go Before Federal Enforcement of REAL ID Begins
The one-year countdown has begun for the federal enforcement of REAL ID for commercial domestic air travel and other federal purposes.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation advises Pennsylvania residents who want REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and photo ID cards and have not yet gotten one to gather the needed documents now to ensure they have plenty of time to get their REAL ID before the federal enforcement date.
REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes, such as boarding a domestic flight or entering a federal building that requires federally acceptable ID for entry. A federally acceptable form of identification (whether it’s a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a valid U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must be used for these purposes on and after May 3, 2023.
There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID; PennDOT continues to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs. More information, including frequently asked questions and information on documents required for REAL ID, can be found on the state REAL ID website.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Extended to May 20
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has been extended to May 20, allowing additional households to apply for help.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered by the state that provides assistance for home heating bills. Assistance is available for renters and homeowners.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
While we focus on our physical wellbeing, the food we eat, exercise, and getting regular check-ups for vision and dental care, a growing body of evidence has demonstrated the need to take care of our mental health.
If you or someone you know needs assistance in this crucial area, the state has an online mental health resources page that can be a good starting point. Topics include finding help and treatment, preventing suicide and more.
Happy Mother’s Day
To mothers, grandmothers and everyone who serves in that role, I wish you a happy Mother’s Day in which all the love you give is returned to you in full.
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