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Friday, February 10, 2017

Headline Harrisburg By Rep. Matt Gabler

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Headline Harrisburg
Friday, February 10, 2017
The latest news from the State Capitol 
 Click here to view video
Gov. Wolf’s Budget Address On Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf issued his budget address for the 2017-18 fiscal year to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The governor’s presentation of his proposed $32.34 billion spending plan is the first step in the state’s budgeting process.

I am very glad that we have the opportunity to open a conversation with our colleagues in the Legislature and Gov. Wolf to determine the right path forward for Pennsylvania’s budget. In his address, the governor gave us a good point from which to begin the negotiation process. We will now have the opportunity to analyze his proposals and offer our own suggestions for ways to better manage the size and price tag associated with state government.

I applaud Gov. Wolf for not proposing broad-based tax hikes on hard-working Pennsylvanians through the Personal Income and Sales and Use taxes. There are, however, some troublesome items included in his plan that are a cause for concern, such as the 6.5 percent energy tax proposal that will increase unemployment in our area and is simply not a dependable source of revenue as our economy cannot support it.

The upcoming House Appropriations Committee hearings will hopefully result in the discovery of additional cost-saving measures we can use to balance the 2017-18 budget. I’m looking forward to bringing positive ideas to the table and having a hand in crafting a spending plan that moves Pennsylvania forward and grows our economy, not the size and scope of state government.
Enhancing Educational Opportunities – Legislation I am co-sponsoring that would enhance educational opportunities by allowing families to better choose the educational paths for their children was passed this week by the House Education Committee.

House Bill 250 would increase the amount of tax credits available under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by $50 million (to $175 million) and the amount of tax credits available under the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program by $25 million (to $75 million).

Both programs are proven successes in the ability for private entities to donate toward approved scholarship programs. The EITC program targets scholarship organizations, educational improvement organizations, and pre-kindergarten scholarship programs, while the OSTC program dedicates tax credits toward businesses that contribute to scholarship programs aimed specifically at students trapped in underperforming schools.

While the General Assembly constantly seeks to improve academic outcomes for all children, the OSTC program provides critical educational opportunities for students who desperately need the chance to succeed.
Attention Outdoor Enthusiasts – This coming week, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) will testify before the House Game and Fisheries Committee. The subject will be their annual reports and issues pertinent to both commissions.

You can watch the meetings (PFBC on Tuesday, Feb. 14; PGC on Wednesday, Feb. 15) on my website,, beginning at 9:30 a.m. each day.
Attention Anglers
– Hard copies of the 2017 trout stock schedule will soon be available in my district offices. For now, you can view an electronic version by clicking here.

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