In This Email Update:
Developing Energy Production AND Protecting the Environment
Many think it is impossible to grow and strengthen our energy sector while protecting our environment. I believe you can do both. For example, Senator Yudichak (D-14) and I successfully sponsored bipartisan legislation within the last few weeks to keep our local coal waste facilities in operation. These plants generate electricity, remove massive piles of waste coal across the state and clean up contaminated rivers around Pennsylvania. We have seen progress in this area, but much remains to be done.
The Heartland Institute interviewed me on this subject, which you can read here.
Bipartisan State Budget Approved for 2019-2020, 42-8
42 State Senators voted for the new bipartisan State Budget. There were no increases in taxes, a substantial amount of new aid was added to assist our struggling farmers, and we placed hundreds of millions of dollars from last year’s surplus in the rainy day fund to provide the state with a solid safety net for the future. As many of you requested, I voted “yes.”
The Reading Eagle recently interviewed me and my neighbor in southern Berks County, Senator Katie Muth (D-44), who voted “no” and argues that the budget is immoral. You can read the article here.
Bringing New Job Opportunities to Schuylkill and Berks Counties
(Congressman Dan Meuser)
Last week, I was a part of a series of meetings in Tamaqua with White House officials to discuss opportunity zones in our region. I was joined by other elected officials including Congressman Dan Meuser (PA-9th). In the video link above, Congressman Meuser and I explain why Opportunity Zones are a great tool to help communities grow!
New Funding for Housing in Minersville, Frackville and Tamaqua
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency announced recently that three local communities will receive grants to fight blight and create more housing options in Frackville, Minersville, and Tamaqua. These tax credits and grants are highly competitive – only first rate projects that applied received funding. You can read more about it here.
Highlights of the Yuengling Celebration
Last Saturday, I joined 15,000 people in Pottsville to celebrate Yuengling’s 190th Anniversary. Their past and future is an important part in our plans to breathe new life into Pottsville and the surrounding region. Here is a very unique link for a time-lapse video from the event. You can read about it here.
Joining me from left to right: Rep. Tobash (R-125), Commissioner Halcovage, Dick Yuengling, Commissioner Staudemeier and US Congressman Dan Meuser (PA-9)
Note: The second beer in my hands was for my wife Beth – Honest!
Achieving Victories against Blight
On Thursday, I visited two old homes that were revitalized through the Schuylkill County Land Bank in Delano and Ashland. The land bank’s main goal is to repurpose blighted properties for productive use and place them back on the tax rolls.
Touring Businesses in Berks County
On Tuesday, I toured two businesses in the Hamburg area: Cougles Recycling Center and the McDonald’s restaurant. I was fascinated by the process Cougles uses to recycle plastics and metals. I also had the chance to cook my own Quarter pounder at McDonald’s! At both sites, the use of technology and good local workers are critical to their success.
Working to Improve OUR Small Cities
Last week, I held a hearing in Lancaster with some of my fellow Senators on how to improve small cities across the Commonwealth, including Reading and Pottsville. We talked about a variety of ways to improve cities including eliminating property taxes and Reading’s status with Act 47. You can watch video of the hearing here or read more about it from the Reading Eagle.
Making Sure Everyone Gets Counted
On Monday, I held a hearing, at the request of Senator Folmer (R-48), on the 2020 US Census and Pennsylvania’s efforts to make sure everyone is counted. One of the key topics was Governor Wolf’s request for $12.8 million for his Complete Count Committee. A major issue with the Census is making sure that rural people respond because those who are unable to be counted cost the state billions in federal funding.
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