Office Locations 
Capitol Office
53B East Wing
PO Box 202051
Harrisburg PA 17120-2051
Phone: (717) 783-5173
FAX: (717) 782-2963
                    
District Offices:
Fayette Chamber of Commerce Building
65 West Main Street, Suite 200
Uniontown, PA 15401
Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Telephone: 724-438-6100
Fax: 724-438-6104

Meyersdale Community Center
215 Main Street, Meyersdale, PA 15552 
Open every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Telephone: 814-634-4390

Confluence Community Center
711 Logan Place, Confluence, PA 15424 
Open the first and third Thursdays of the month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Telephone: 814-634-4390 

Ohiopyle Stewart Community Center
15 Sherman Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470
Open the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Telephone: 814-634-4390
 
My Resolutions for Harrisburg: Reform, Reform, Reform!
Tis the season…for New Year’s resolutions! As we look toward the brand new year that lies ahead, it is the perfect time to think about the goals we hope to achieve over the next 12 months. When making personal New Year’s resolutions, some of the most common are eating better and exercising more, leaning new hobbies, getting one’s finances under control, and simply living life to its fullest. These resolutions have one common theme – they are designed to make our lives better.

As I look forward to my second year of representing the 51st Legislative District, I have developed my own set of resolutions I believe will make life better for our residents and people across the Commonwealth. And you probably won’t be surprised to hear most of those resolutions involve reforming our government and its operations.

Our first resolution should be budget reform. After participating in just one budget cycle at the state Capitol, it is abundantly clear the process is broken. Harrisburg can’t vote to spend money the Commonwealth doesn’t have, and it can’t keep going back to the taxpayers – be they individuals, families or employers – and expect them to foot the bill for big government.

We’ve already taken a major step forward on this front, adopting the Performance-Based Budget Act to require performance assessments of state programs to determine whether they should continue to be funded or not. It is baffling to me that these types of assessments weren’t already being done to ensure taxpayer dollars were being spent wisely. This is now law and will be part of the upcoming 2018-19 budget process.

The House approved a half-dozen other measures to reform the budget process, including placing caps on spending, improving transparency with special/dedicated funds, requiring detailed explanations and plans to address cost overruns when the administration seeks supplemental funding, setting time limits on budgetary waivers and more. Now we must work to get the Senate to vote on these measures.

My second resolution for Harrisburg is welfare reform. I wholeheartedly support providing assistance for people who truly need it, and that makes it all the more important we ensure our limited taxpayer dollars are going to those individuals and families deserving of help and not to people who are simply cheating the system.

Unfortunately, Gov. Tom Wolf chose to veto legislation in 2017 that would have allowed the Commonwealth to place work or work-search requirements on able-bodied men and women receiving Medical Assistance benefits. Similar requirements are already in place for food stamp and cash assistance programs, and the requirements would not have applied to anyone with a qualifying disability or anyone who is pregnant or elderly. It is a fair approach to keeping our human services budget in check, and I find the governor’s veto to be disrespectful of the hard-working taxpayers who foot the bill for these benefits. I believe it also puts benefits at risk for the people who need them most.

My third resolution for Harrisburg is economic reform. Pennsylvania has long been one of the costliest states in which to do business, and that is bad for our economy and for hard-working citizens looking for fulfilling careers that also will allow them to support their families.

We must continue to work on easing the tax burden for employers so they may continue to invest in their employees and business growth. This is why I will continue to strenuously oppose any proposal that seeks to place an additional tax burden on our oil and gas companies. These companies already pay an impact fee on top of the regular business taxes they face. Despite what the governor and members primarily from the southeastern part of the state have to say, these companies truly are paying their fair share and cannot afford to be burdened by a severance tax as well. Regulatory reforms and ongoing efforts to address the state’s unemployment compensation fund also are vital to helping grow our economy.

My final resolution for Harrisburg is to improve the health and safety of our citizens and our communities. First and foremost, we must continue to focus on the opioid epidemic and how we can best address it from both the law enforcement and public health perspectives. We need to go after the dealers and get them off the streets and behind bars before they deliver any more drugs that take the lives of our loved ones. But as long as there is a demand for the drugs, there will always be more dealers waiting in the wings. We must do more to prevent addiction before it starts, and we have to look at our treatment system and how it can be reformed to more effectively help people overcome their addiction.

Finally, I am working on a bill to support and protect our law enforcement officers by closing a loophole involving people who are pulled over by the police but then flee on foot rather than staying with their vehicle. Another bill of mine aims to provide legal protections for citizens who use a Taser in self-defense.

While it’s no secret we all struggle to live up to our New Year’s resolutions, I am committed to doing all I can to bring about these much-needed reforms and improvements to your state government. I invite you to keep up with all the latest legislative news by signing up for my weekly email updates at RepDowling.com or following me on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I wish you and yours a happy, healthy and successful new year!