In this email edition:
This Sunday, Rep. Tim Twardzik (R-123) and I will again join the annual 4th of July Parade in Port Carbon. Since I first participated in this parade as a young boy in the 1960s, this event is very special to the Argall family.
Remember the importance of this uniquely American holiday.
Budget supports local schools, nursing homes—but says no to the Governor’s proposed income tax increases
When the Governor first announced his proposed budget, he proposed one of the largest tax increases in Pennsylvania history – that proposal was dead on arrival. Coming off the heels of a pandemic and his economic shutdowns, the last thing our employers and employees need is to be hit with more taxes – especially as people begin to rebuild their livelihoods after the COVID shutdowns of 2020-21.
The Senate, on a strong bipartisan vote, made it abundantly clear that our focus should be on funding public and private education, broadband, and transportation needs – and that’s exactly what we did. We allocated money to provide additional support for schools, nursing homes, roads and bridges. The best part: we turned down the Governor’s massive tax hike.
This budget included the largest one-year increase in education funding in the history of Pennsylvania. The 21 Berks and Schuylkill County schools in the Senate district that I represent received $19.5 million more than last year. After all the disruptions parents, teachers and – most importantly – students have been forced to deal with throughout the pandemic, this extra support will help to restore a sense of normalcy when the upcoming school year begins. Here’s the complete list of the increases for each of the 21 school districts I represent.
Thanks to the Reading, Blue Mountain, and Northern RR– passenger trains return to Tamaqua
Many of us can remember when Tamaqua’s train station was a symbol of blight, not a symbol of pride. But people came together — and we saved the station…. Brick by brick, window by window, door by door. Since the restaurant finally reopened in 2004, this has been a very busy place. It only happened because people worked together in a very successful public-private partnership.
Now, because of the vision and incredible generosity of RBMN Railroad owner Andy Muller and the efforts of Tamaqua Borough Council, especially its President, Dave Mace, this week we joined together to celebrate the station’s new loading platform—the key to encouraging more visitors to travel to Tamaqua in the future.
More Ride & Dine trains will arrive in July & August and – of course – the all popular Santa Trains during Spirit of Christmas. Read more here.
Governor vetoes election reform bill
Just as he was out of touch in vetoing 13 bills regarding the COVID emergency that the voters reversed by voting for the constitutional amendments in May-– Governor Wolf this week vetoed legislation approved by the House and Senate which we designed to make it easier for Pennsylvanians to vote and harder to cheat. Read more here.
The Voter Rights Protection Act was the product of 13 bipartisan hearings which would have made significant updates to our election system. As the chair of the Senate State Government Committee, my main task throughout the summer months will be to continue to seek a bipartisan solution to make our elections more secure and restore the faith of more Pennsylvanians in the results.
Route 61: St. Clair to Frackville reconstruction receives $21 million grant
One of the busiest highways in this Senate district, Route 61’s 4.5 miles from St. Clair to Frackville, has received a much-needed $21 million federal grant. This section of highway is in poor condition and the long-planned reconstruction has been delayed, again and again. This new highway is important both for the increased safety of its thousands of daily travelers as well as a key to the future economic development of the region.
MANY thanks to the dedicated advocacy of our Congressman Dan Meuser and Bob Carl and his entire team at the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce who have worked with me and our State Representatives to turn this goal into a reality. Read more here.
Majority Policy Committee hearing on federal prohibition of whole milk in schools features Berks County farmers
Last week, at my request, the Majority Policy Committee reviewed the federal prohibition of whole milk in schools. The hearing featured Bernie Morrissey, a Berks County dairy advocate and Nelson Troutman, a Berks County dairy farmer, both of whom spoke about the importance of whole milk in schools for the health of Pennsylvania’s students. Read more about this hearing here.
New Eagle Scout – my neighbor!
Last weekend, I attended an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Tait Ehrig of Lake Hauto. I was joined by Rep. Gary Day (R-187) and Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-124) at the event. Congrats to Tait on all your hard work and service to the community!
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