May. 03, 2019

State Revenues Higher than Expected

Through conservative state budgeting and prudent fiscal management, state revenue collections are more than $828 million ahead of estimates with two months to go in the current fiscal year.

My colleagues and I in the Legislature have advanced policies to grow our economy, which leads to increases in state revenues. We also have worked to restrict the growth of government spending in an effort to protect taxpayers.

We believe the Commonwealth should devote much of the above-estimate revenue to the state’s reserves for the next “rainy day” to help ensure we can weather the next economic slowdown.

We will continue to push for conservative economic and fiscal policies as the Commonwealth finalizes its next state budget prior to the June 30 deadline.

Find further details on Pennsylvania’s revenues here.
Upgrading State Government

State government needs an upgrade.

Our phones and computer software require upgrades every several months to ensure they are operating at optimal efficiency. State government, in a similar fashion, needs an upgrade to ensure programs, policies and procedures are serving the residents of the Commonwealth in the best and most efficient manner.

To achieve that, we will work to repeal out-of-date laws, reexamine the effectiveness of some state boards and commissions, and look for areas to streamline processes to better serve Pennsylvania residents.

We kicked off the effort this week by passing House Bill 762 to require state agencies to designate a regulatory compliance officer to facilitate better understanding of new and existing regulations and boost compliance rates among affected businesses.

We also passed House Bill 509, which would boost transparency in the permitting process by requiring agencies to post information online and create an accessible tracking system for applicants to check the status of their applications.

Finally, we started a spring cleaning of sorts to get rid of some our most outdated, irrelevant laws. Other laws we are working to repeal include antiquated sections of our Public School Code and the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children, which closed in 2009.                                   

You can read more about what we are doing to improve Pennsylvania’s government here.
Prevent Lyme: Check for Ticks

With May designated as Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Pennsylvania, individuals who spend time outdoors should check themselves for ticks and be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-related ailments.

The first line of defense against Lyme is to take precautions in the outdoors by using insect repellent with DEET, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, checking for – and promptly and properly removing – any ticks, and showering shortly after exposure.

If bitten, an individual should monitor the area for the next month. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, a bull’s eye rash may appear, and other symptoms that can be mistaken for viral infections, such as influenza or infectious mononucleosis.

Pennsylvania has led the nation in confirmed cases of Lyme disease for three straight years.

Last year, a $500,000 grant was provided to East Stroudsburg University (ESU) to allow all Pennsylvania residents to have ticks (found on them or a family member) tested for free by the university. The Tick Lab is located within the Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute at ESU. Click here to access the Tick Lab website with all the details.

For tips about how to protect yourself from Lyme disease, click here.