Bills Would Bring Transparency to Collective Bargaining Process
This week, Senator Scott Martin and I introduced a pair of bills designed to provide a much-needed layer of transparency to the process of negotiating the salary and benefits of government and public school employees. The cost of labor contracts is ultimately paid by taxpayers, so it is critical for the public to understand the collective bargaining process and make informed judgements on the results of these agreements.
Collective bargaining negotiations are currently exempt from government transparency laws. Our bills would remove those existing exemptions from the Sunshine Act and the Right To Know Law. The proposals would help the public better understand the decisions that are being made with their tax dollars.
The Senate approved similar legislation during the previous legislative session, and I am hopeful that we will take the next step this year and get these bills to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. More information on the bills is available here.
Local students traveled to Harrisburg this week to take part in my Senator For A Day student government seminar. I appreciated the chance to hear their opinions and perspectives on some of the most important issues facing state lawmakers.
Lancaster County Homeowners Begin Receiving Reassessment Notices
Local homeowners recently began receiving reassessment notices from the county. A number of resources are available to help answer questions and concerns regarding the reassessment process in Lancaster County communities.
A special phone bank has been set up to answer questions pertaining to reassessment. County residents can call 717-390-7742 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Questions can also be emailed to PAQuestions@co.lancaster.pa.us.
The Lancaster County Property Assessment Office also offers a number of resources for homeowners on its website. More information is available online at http://web.co.lancaster.pa.us/154/Property-Assessment.
Outreach Events Scheduled in Upcoming Weeks
I appreciated all of the community residents who shared their questions, perspectives and concerns with me regarding state and local issues during my telephone town hall event last week. This feedback is critical in helping me represent your interests in Harrisburg.
Over the next several weeks, I look forward to hosting several additional outreach events in local communities. On March 30 at 6:30 p.m., I will host a town hall at The Gathering Place, located at 6 Pine Street in Mount Joy. On April 11 at 6:30 p.m., I will host another town hall at Garden Spot Village Chapel, located at 433 South Kinzer Avenue in New Holland.
In addition to these town hall events, I invite community residents to stop by an informal Coffee and Conversation event on May 3 from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the West Earl Township Building, 157 West Metzler Road in Ephrata. I hope you can join me for one or more of these events!
Senate Panel Concludes Three Weeks of Budget Hearings
The Senate Appropriations Committee recently concluded a three-week series of hearings regarding Governor Wolf’s proposed 2017-18 state budget. The hearings included a wealth of useful information and will serve as a starting point for lawmakers in developing a responsible spending plan for the state.
Video and summaries of all of the hearings are available at www.pasenategop.com.
State Tax Amnesty Program Opens Next Month
Individuals and businesses who are delinquent on state taxes can take advantage of a 60-day tax amnesty window – during which the state will waive penalties and half of the interest owed – beginning on April 21.
From April 21 through June 19, taxpayers can settle taxes owed for the Personal Income Tax, Realty Transfer Tax, Sales and Use Tax and a number of business taxes. The program is expected to generate up to $100 million for the state’s General Fund.
More details on the tax amnesty program are available at www.revenue.pa.gov.
Trout Stocking Schedule Available Now
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission recently announced its 2017 trout stocking schedule for all Pennsylvania waterways. Please visit www.fishandboat.com for most up-to-date stocking information and possible weather related changes. A link to the schedule is also available on my website at www.senatoraument.com.
Senate Box 203036