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Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Legislative District, the State Capitol, and the progress of my legislative priorities. 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 May 29, 2017

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House for Further Consideration
All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.
Senate Bill 108 – prohibits discrimination against disabled persons needing organ transplants;
Senate Bill 269 – (40-10) PA Construction Code amendments;
Senate Bill 288 – strengthens PA’s “Steer Clear” law;
Senate Bill 510 – increases the penalty for threatening a law enforcement officer, sheriff or member of their family;
Senate Bill 522 – (38-12) consolidation of the PA Dept. of Corrections and the PA Board of Probation & Parole;
Senate Bill 523 – (48-2) moves the Office of Victim Advocate into the proposed consolidated Dept. of Corrections/Probation & Parole;
Senate Bill 651 – Capital Budget requests;
House Bill 151 – clarifies the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development is an agent of the PA Industrial Development Authority;
House Bill 271 – (38-12) expands Pennsylvania gaming and reestablishes the local share of gaming monies.

Bills Pass Senate, Go to Governor for Further Action
Senate Bill 133 – (49-1) makes Pennsylvania compliant with the federal REAL ID law;
House Bill 23 – updates PA’s stroke center designation law.

Executive Nominations Unanimously Confirmed by Senate
State Board of Auctioneer Examiners – Gerald A. Rader, Skippack
Secretary of Environmental Protection Patrick W. McDonnell, Harrisburg
State Board of Funeral Directors – William G. Harris, Johnstown
State Board of Medicine – Anna M. Moran, Shillington
State Board of Nursing – John M. O’Donnell, Pittsburgh and Bridget E. Vincent, Huntingdon Valley
State Board of Optometry – Gerald E. Olson, Monroeville
State Board of Physical Therapy – Jeffrey R. Elliott, Wernersville
State Board of Podiatry – Eric B. Greenberg, Downingtown

 

Roarke Miller, a junior at Annville-Cleona High School, shadowed me for a day at the Capitol. He had the opportunity to sit in on various meetings and I had the pleasure of introducing him on the Senate Floor.
Watch here

Emergency Responders Recognized for 25+ Active Years of Service
The Emergency Health Services Federation, the regional EMS council for Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties, held its annual award ceremony at the PA Capitol this week to congratulate personnel who have been actively involved with EMS for 25 years or more in our region. Congratulations to the following from the 48th Senatorial District for devoting yourself to saving lives and your many dedicated hours of care: Anthony J. Deaven, First Aid and Safety Patrol; Lisa Witmer, York County 911; Robin L. Wolferd, Jonestown-Perseverance Fire Company, and; William Zerphey, First Aid and Safety Patrol/Williamstown EMS.

I was honored to introduce the2016-2017 Lebanon Catholic Girls Basketball team, the PIAA 1A State Champions, on the Senate Floor this week. What a wonderful group of athletes, led by an amazing head coach. Watch my introduction below.

5/23/17 - Introduction of the Lebanon Catholic HS Girls Basketball Team

Column: Groundhog Day
In the movie “Groundhog Day,” weatherman Phil Connors played by Bill Murray relives the same day again and again: an estimated 12,403 days, or about 34 years. Many taxpayers feel they’re reliving “Groundhog Day” due to the lack of action to eliminate school property taxes.

If you google the definition of “elimination” you’ll find it’s “the complete removal of something” and the dictionary gives an example: “the elimination of extreme poverty is a key objective.” My ongoing advocacy in support of Senator Argall’s Senate Bill 76 is to reach the much needed and long overdue goal of eliminating school property taxes, which I believe is an essential need for the taxpayers of this Commonwealth.

I recently reviewed other Senate bills on property taxes and I found over twenty introduced, including: county sales, personal income, or earned income taxes for reductions in both property taxes and other taxes; banning spot appeals of property assessments; clarifying farmers’ “clean and green” programs that allow for deferral of property taxes; senior citizen property tax freezes; disabled veterans and surviving spouse exemptions; mobile home and trailer exemptions; cutting firefighters’ property taxes; clarifying eligibility for tax or rent rebates; expanding gaming for tax relief; voter referenda on school property tax increases; a Constitutional Amendment for a homestead exemption; property assessments promoting clean energy, and; rebates to eliminate school property taxes for 60% of homeowners.

However, there’s just one bill that provides for the total elimination of school property taxes: Senate Bill 76.

SB 76 does this through dollar-for-dollar replacement of existing school property taxes by expanding the Personal Income Tax and the Sales Tax. Despite what opponents claim, the numbers add up – it works.

Senate Bill 76 would result in immediate and significant reductions in school property taxes: the average reduction statewide would be 80% and once existing school debts are repaid, there would be 100% elimination of all school property taxes.

Eighty percent average and immediate reductions in school property taxes and 100% elimination upon repayment of outstanding school debts. That’s why supporters are so passionate: they want total elimination of school property taxes – not partial elimination or total elimination for some but not all taxpayers – but total elimination of school property taxes for all taxpayers. That’s what Senate Bill 76 does.

Like Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day,” advocates want this story to end – no more “I’ve Got You Babe” on the radio or elected officials who say they support total elimination of school property taxes but won’t support SB 76 or say there’s a better plan. Other measures have been promised or introduced but just one provides for the total elimination of school property taxes: Senate Bill 76.

Three Special Sessions of the General Assembly have focused on property taxes and just one bill was signed into law and one proposed constitutional amendment was sent to the voters –which they overwhelmingly rejected – likely because it was so complicated and provided just partial, not total, elimination of property taxes.

Other attempts to reduce property taxes have also failed because they didn’t reach the much needed and long overdue goal of eliminating school property taxes.

Despite my calls for alternatives to Senate Bill 76 to eliminate school property taxes, we have seen none. There’s just one providing for the total elimination of school property taxes: Senate Bill 76.

It took Bill Murray’s character in “Groundhog Day” 12,403 days, or just under 34 years to get out of Punxsutawney. Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to suffer the same fate. It’s time to pass Senate Bill 76 because no tax should have the power to leave you homeless.

Stephen Weaver of Myerstown to Serve as Summer Intern in South Africa
Stephen Weaver, of Myerstown and a sophomore cross-cultural studies major at Bob Jones University, will serve as a summer intern in Knysnu, South Africa, where he will work with two missionaries and will be preaching, teaching and doing work in the community.


Contact Information
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