Feb. 10, 2017

Budget Proposal is a Realistic Starting Point

The annual state budget process got underway this week when Gov. Tom Wolf outlined his 2017-18 spending plan before a joint session of the General Assembly.

The $32.3 billion proposal is balanced without any broad-based tax increases and includes several initiatives aimed at reducing spending and improving efficiencies by consolidating some state agencies. The administration estimates this could save the Commonwealth about $2 billion.

House Republicans are committed to a “restart” of state government, focusing on funding programs and services that work, rooting out waste and reining in overall state spending.

They are equally committed to responsibly funding the core functions of government, including education, transportation and human services, while helping to make the state more attractive to job creators.

Budget hearings in the House begin on Tuesday, Feb. 21. More information can be found at PAHouseGOP.com.

To hear more of my thoughts, click here.


Tour of Argon ST/Boeing Facility in Georges Township

This week, I toured the Argon ST/Boeing facilities with Congressman Bill Shuster (R-9th) and we also met with company officials. It was a very educational experience and showed how valuable this Fayette County employer is to our region, and the nation.

A plan to expand the current facilities in Georges Township, Fayette County, which could create 60 new jobs, is proceeding to the next steps.

The Fayette County Redevelopment Authority has applied for a grant from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital program, (RACP) for $1.5 million for the expansion project which would, if approved, be leveraged by $2.7 million from the Boeing Corporation.

The project calls for a 60,000 square-foot expansion of the facilities that produce technical and communications systems for the United States military.


LaFayette Manor Opens New Rehabilitation Facility in Uniontown

It was a pleasure to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility in Uniontown.

LaFayette Manor has a long record of service to the region, providing skilled nursing and rehabilitation, and treating the social, physical and emotional needs of their residents.

In the photo below, along with me are Sen. Pat Stefano (R-Fayette/Somerset/Westmoreland); Fayette County commissioners Vincent Vicities Angela Zimmerlink and Dave Lohr; and board members and senior staff of the facility.


Gaming Proceeds Fund Grants for First Responders

Grants for area fire and emergency services groups have been awarded to a number of agencies in Fayette and Somerset counties. These grants are funded by proceeds from gaming in the Commonwealth.

The Legislature created the grant program and it is administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

These grants, which are not funded by General Fund tax dollars, will allow local first response agencies to better afford training, equipment, facility improvements and other needs.

Click here for the list of local recipients.
Gone Fishin’: Trout Stocking Schedules Available

Trout season is just around the corner, and local anglers are now able to find out when their favorite fishing hole will be stocked with trout by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The guides are available in print, online and on the commission’s FishBoatPA mobile app.

The commission stocks approximately 3.15 million adult trout in more than 720 streams and 120 lakes open to public angling each year. These figures include approximately 2 million rainbow trout; 640,000 brown trout; and 500,000 brook trout. The average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length.

The statewide opening day for trout season is Saturday, April 15, but a regional opening day in 18 southcentral and southeastern counties is set for Saturday, April 1. Click here for a list of those counties.

Additionally, the commission will host Mentored Youth Trout Days on Saturday, March 25, for those same 18 counties and Saturday, April 8, statewide. Youth under the age of 16 can join a mentor (adult) angler who has a current fishing license and trout permit to fish for trout the Saturday before the regular opening days. Youth anglers must obtain a mentored youth permit or voluntary youth fishing license as well. Click here for more information about the program.

For more information about fishing licenses or regulations, or to check the online stocking schedule, click here.
Connecting Nonprofits Through 2-1-1

To raise awareness of a free service by the United Way that partners local nonprofits and social service groups together to help assist Pennsylvanians in need, the House passed House Resolution 49 recognizing Feb. 11 as “2-1-1 Day in Pennsylvania.”

By dialing 2-1-1, people are instantly connected to a wealth of information related to their area’s nonprofit and human service providers.

This “one stop shop” helps people cut through red tape and more easily find the help they need. These services are offered on a regionalized approach, ensuring that people are helped by their neighbors and people in their own community.

More information is available at pa211.org.
My Audio Podcast

I am recording audio Legislative Report podcasts on a periodic basis. You can listen to them by clicking on the Audio Podcast link above the headline in this email, and all future ones.

This week, I talk about the state budget proposal and other issues.

All podcasts are on my website as well at RepDowling.com. Just click on the audio section in the left column.