In this Update:
Op-Ed: Creating a Welcoming Business Climate improves life in PA
It’s not news to anyone that people are facing dire effects of inflation. Hard-working families are being hit from all sides by ever-rising costs at the grocery store and gas station, as well as on their utility bills. Spending power has never been weaker, and people are being forced to make very difficult decisions about how they spend what they have.
Federally, the solution is just to give away more “free” money. We just heard about another plan of President Joe Biden’s to magically forgive up to $20,000 in student loans per borrower. The problem, of course, is that we all know there’s no such thing as free money.
Instead, it is simply a redistribution of assets from people who are also struggling to make it or have already worked hard to rightfully fulfill their financial obligation and pay off their student loans.
Not to mention, it doesn’t take an economics degree to see that all the free money only makes inflation even worse anyway.
While some people – particularly those who will benefit – may appreciate the cash, we should all be questioning whether it’s in our best interest to train ourselves to be reliant on the government to pay our bills. Sacrificing our independence in exchange for help with a bill serves only to train us to be reliant on the government and limit ourselves to what it is willing to dole out to us.
I, like my Republican colleagues in the Senate, believe that people should not be restricted in the success they can realize. That’s why we remain focused on how we can create an environment in Pennsylvania that gives everyone the opportunity to achieve based on their level of talent and motivation.
Rather than chaining people to the government after eroding their self-reliance and merely providing band-aid quick fixes to the problems that naturally occur, we want to provide a real and lasting solution: a healthy business climate.
That starts with reforming Pennsylvania’s tax structure, the corporate net income tax (CNIT) rate. Until my colleagues and I passed landmark legislation earlier this summer, this high rate had not changed since 1995.
The rate will drop from 9.99% to 8.99% in 2023 and then continue to fall until it hits 4.99% in 2031. Once the phased reduction is fully in place, Pennsylvania will go from imposing one of the nation’s highest CNIT rates to the eighth lowest in the country.
Because of the CNIT reduction, the Commonwealth will be much more competitive among neighboring states and businesses will be far more likely to open in or move to Pennsylvania.
Of course, this doesn’t just help businesses. It will directly benefit Pennsylvanians as businesses will bring with them family-sustaining jobs and a legitimate infusion of cash into the economy, unlike the federal government’s plan to simply throw out more free money.
These changes will make Pennsylvania more competitive with surrounding states, send a strong message to employers that our Commonwealth is open for business and ultimately give everyone the best chance at the success they choose for themselves.
September is National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month, which serves as a reminder to take steps to prepare for emergencies and ensure that our homes, businesses and possessions are adequately insured.
September is also when Pennsylvania experiences a higher risk of flooding due to hurricane and tropical storm activity in the Northeast this time of year. The state Insurance Department encourages property owners to consider purchasing flood insurance.
Simple, low- or no-cost steps you can take now to prepare for emergencies include:
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency can help you prepare for emergencies through Ready, Set, and Check! It includes an informative card that will help you with simple, yet important, steps to get started and track your progress.
Last Call for the September 12 Concealed Carry Seminar
Assistance Available for Fire & EMS Companies to Help with Costs
First responders have until Oct. 21 to apply for assistance through the state Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program.
It helps fire and EMS cover the rising costs of training, equipment, recruitment, retention and more.
The financial challenges facing first responders are especially serious for volunteer companies. Each new generation sees fewer volunteers, increasing the workload on those willing to step up. This grant program is one of the most important that the General Assembly funds each year and I hope it provides some relief to our local first responders.
You can Help Track PA Cases of Rabbit Disease
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is asking the public to report any rabbit mortality events – defined as finding two or more dead hares/rabbits at the same location with an unknown cause of death – by calling 1-833-PGC-WILD or by using the online Wildlife Health Survey reporting tool at www.pgcapps.pa.gov/WHS.
This comes after two cases of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD), which can cause internal bleeding and sudden death in rabbits, were identified in a Fayette County facility. The disease is considered an endemic in wild rabbits in 11 states and has been detected in domestic populations in 13 states.
Domestic rabbit owners who have questions about this disease should contact their veterinarians, who in turn should immediately report suspected cases of RHD to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Health.
RHD is not infectious to people or domestic animals other than hares or rabbits. However, multiple dead or sick hares or rabbits can also be a sign of tularemia or plague, diseases that can cause serious illness in people. You can find more information on RHD here.
Fayette Senior Expo Scheduled for September 27
Virtual Town Hall to Focus on Transportation Issues Veterans Face
The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs will host the fourth in a five-part series of virtual Veteran Town Halls on Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 6-7:30 p.m. The town hall will focus on resources to assist veterans facing transportation issues.
Attendees can participate by using this Microsoft Teams link. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions during the program through the chat feature.
Older veterans and those with a disability often have problems accessing health care because of not having proper transportation available to them. The town hall will outline community resources ready to provide veterans with transportation to and from the federal VA and other health care providers.
Municipalities Can Apply Now for Grants to Improve Traffic Flow
A new grant program created by the General Assembly this year to reduce traffic congestion is now accepting applications from municipalities.
The Traffic Signal Technologies Grant program is unique in that it is intended only for new technologies at existing traffic signals, including adaptive signal control technology, which adjusts the timing of lights to accommodate changing traffic patterns and ease congestion.
No local matching funds are required. A pre-application form must be completed by Sept. 23.
Around the District
Yesterday, I participated in the Pittsburgh Fire Department’s “Fire Ops 101” at the Allegheny County Fire Training Academy. Fellow legislators and I put on the full gear, including self-contained breathing apparatus, and stepped into a burn building.
There were several scenarios presented to us — Aerial Ladder Ops – CPR/Overdose – Fire Behavior – Mental Health & Wellness – Rescue Ops – and Search & Rescue. As an individual, I have always had great respect for our first responders and as Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee I have done my best to promote legislation that enchances our fire & EMS system in Pennsylvania.
While it was just for one day, Fire Ops 101 provided me with an additional perspective that I will keep in the back of my mind no matter what role I play in the future. Thank you to Lt. Jake Overfield with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire for being such a gracious host.
I helped kick off the Farmers and Threshermens Jubilee in New Centerville last night with the annual parade. The fair runs from September 7th to 11th and features steam engines, tractors, crafts, quilt show, entertainment and truck & tractor pulling. Go enjoy one of Somerset County’s great traditions.