On Issues

Legislative Reform

One of the major issues I see here in the Commonwealth is the incredibly bloated and unregulated State Legislature. Be it the large amount of tax dollars allotted to our elected officials or the dangerous practices that we do nothing to curb, I believe that we cannot truly improve things for the people of Pennsylvania and the 94th without fixing the major problems that face our state in the Senate and House.

My Positions:

1) Term limits on representatives – Too long have we had a lack of turnover and change in our state houses, and this only leads to complacency and brain drain. With no fear of ever losing their seat, career politicians have no motivation and nothing to hold them accountable.

2) Reducing the size of the legislature – Pennsylvania has the largest full-time state legislature in our country. There is no reason that a state of our size is divided up in such a way that we need such a large legislative body. With each additional representative we get more high salaries to pay, more pensions to fill, more offices to staff, and more opportunities for political gridlock. This must be addressed.

3) Curbing lobbying and gifting – I have written on this topic before, but I believe that outside money in politics is a major threat to our democracy. Companies and PACs should not be able to funnel money and gifts to politicians in order to buy more influence than actual voters. The longer we continue down this path the worse things will get for the voters of Pennsylvania.

4) End Gerrymandering – Generally when gerrymandering is brought up it is argued that the current system is fair because both parties would do it if they were in power. I reject this argument because A) there is no reason that elected officials of either party should be drawing their own districts & gerrymandering should be ended not for its threat to political parties, but for its removal of representation from the voters of PA. I believe that we need to hire an independent, non-partisan organization to draw all Pennsylvania electoral maps going forward. This is the only way to truly create fair districts.

If you agree that it is time for a change in both Pennsylvania and here in the 94th, please join me in November as we retire Stan. Let’s truly “drain the swamp” and “return power to the people” by doing the things that our current representatives won’t.

Property Tax Reform

Every year politicians – especially Republicans – come out in support of lower property taxes in their districts. You may think to yourself, “How is Steve different from those other politicians?” The difference between a career politician like Stan and myself is this: I have an actual plan to make property tax reduction actually happen.

In order to know how property taxes can be reduced, one must first understand why they are so high in the first place. The PA State Constitution mandates that the state government is supposed to fund 50% of the public school budgets in the state. Despite this, the Republicans in the House have voted every year to reduce that percentage more and more in order to claim that they are cutting government spending. What they are actually doing is passing the cost of funding our schools more directly to you. You see schools still cost the same amount of money to operate, so when the funding is cut on the state level they have to find the funds elsewhere. As a result, we continually see higher and higher local property taxes as the Republicans on the state level shirk their duties for cheap political wins.

That all being said, I see the solution to deal with this property tax crisis as the following:

1) Restore education on the State level to at least 50%. This can be done by the reallocation of funds from less essential areas of government, bringing in new revenue streams from taxing things like marcellus shale, or consolidating redundant areas of government.

2) Capping endowments on the extremely wealthy school districts that are sitting on accounts worth over one hundred million dollars while still receiving state funding. These school districts continually have more than they need while other districts keep falling behind and need to raise taxes on their citizens to keep up.

By moving forward in these two areas I believe that we can greatly reduce the property taxes that make it harder for our citizens to live in our district.

Education Funding

Every year our State government votes to allocate less and less funds to our schools here in Pennsylvania. I find it embarrassing that we can continue to find money to spend on a bloated legislature and their staff, but we cannot afford to educate our children properly. What’s worse is that the cost of funding gets passed on to the people of Pennsylvania through higher and higher property taxes. This needs to change.

My proposals to fix this issue and ensure that our children receive the resources that they deserve are as follows:

1) Raise the amount of education funding that is provided by the PA State government via budget cuts, increased revenue sources, and more efficient spending

2) Cap the endowments of the wealthiest school districts in Pennsylvania and create a general education fund like most other states have already adopted. There are many school districts in the state that sit on surpluses of millions of dollars and still collect state funding while other school districts have to cut staff, programs, and equipment in order to make ends meet. We need to create equality in funding for school districts across PA so that no child suffers due to lack of opportunities or resources

Education is an investment into the future of our state, our communities, and our workforce. It is critical that we address these issues so that we may all have a brighter tomorrow.

Green Energy and Our Economy

Something that our district desperately needs are higher wage jobs. One avenue that can help provide this is moving towards green energy policies such as solar and wind power. Both of these options are more sustainable, cleaner, and cheaper in the long run than the current model. I believe that we need to encourage more and more individuals and businesses to move in this direction in order to benefit all of the residents in the 94th district.

Moving towards green energy will do several things for the people of South-Central PA:

1) Create more opportunities for high wage jobs for the many contractors and trades workers living in our district

2)Provide an alternative to the various pipeline and power line issues that threaten to take the land of many of our residents

3) Create a greener and cleaner environment for all of the people in our district to enjoy

I truly believe that our economy and our environment is in need of this change; I believe it so much that I made the choice to have solar panels installed on the roof of my own home. My hope is that by being elected I can help facilitate such a choice for many more people living in the 94th.

Pro-Retirement Legislation

As I have been out talking to constituents I have noticed that there are many concerns for our older residents here in the 94th. Rising medical costs and inflated prices on senior housing facilities are making life difficult for both our elderly residents as well as their families. I plan to help alleviate this once I am in office by doing the following:

1) Property tax reform – By lowering property taxes it will become more affordable for seniors to remain home rather than be forced to move into retirement communities with bloated coasts. It will also provide a break to their families so that they will have a better financial safety net.

2) Prescription Drug Reform – Many seniors in our district – and around our country – are faced with having to choose between their medicine and their food far too often. When I am elected I plan to help lead the charge to reform the way that prescription drugs are priced, marketed, and regulated. There is no reason that the older members of our society should be faced with this problem.

If you are interested in hearing more about my policy positions regarding this topic, or have any suggestions or concerns please comment below.