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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Capitol Update By Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, May 30, 2014 The latest news from the State Capitol

Outreach Office Hours Set for June 5

To help ensure access to state government information and services, I will hold outreach office hours at the following locations on Thursday, June 5:
 • Emporium Borough Office – 9-10 a.m. 
 • Port Allegany Borough Office – 11 a.m. to noon.  

Congratulations to Ed Pitchford, president and chief executive officer of Cole Memorial Hospital in Coudersport, for receiving the Grassroots Champions Award from the American Hospital Association and the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania. In honor of his achievement, Suzan Paisley of my Coudersport office presented him with a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The Grassroots Champions Award was created to recognize those hospital leaders who most effectively educate elected officials on how major issues affect hospitals’ vital role in the community, who do an exemplary job in broadening the base of community support for their hospitals, and are tireless advocates for their hospitals and patients. He is truly a champion for rural health care.

Budget Tops House Agenda in June

One of the most important – and most challenging – tasks facing the Legislature will take center stage in June. A state budget must be adopted in time for the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, and while talks have been ongoing since the governor’s budget address and a series of budget hearings in February and March, there is much work to be done.

According to the Independent Fiscal Office, year-over-year revenue is actually up, with Personal Income Tax up roughly 5 percent over last year, indicative of continuing employment gains in the Commonwealth. However, revenue growth has fallen far short of expectations, leaving a more than $1 billion hole to fill.

To track budget news, visit our websites at and I welcome your feedback as the budget develops.

Game and Fish Committee to Examine Merger Report

A Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) report on the possibility of merging the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will be formally presented to the House Game and Fisheries Committee during a meeting on Wednesday, June 4, at the state Capitol.

LBFC staff will make a presentation and then take questions from committee members about their findings. As chairman of the committee and sponsor of the House resolution that prompted the study, I am looking forward to a productive discussion to help us move the issue forward.

The study found that a merger of the commissions is feasible and would save the Commonwealth about $5 million annually, primarily through elimination of redundant upper level positions and duplication of services. Currently, Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation where management and oversight of fishing, boating and wildlife activities are managed by two separate, independent agencies.

The meeting will be streamed live at A copy of the LBFC report is available here.

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