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Friday, February 12, 2016

Capitol Update By Rep. Martin Causer (R) Turtlepoint

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Capitol Update
Friday, February 12, 2016 The latest news from the State Capitol

Wolf Budget Seeks More Than $2 Billion in New Taxes

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Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled his 2016-17 state budget earlier this week, again calling for higher taxes and more spending.

The $33.29 billion proposal would require about $2.7 billion annually in new taxes, nearly half of which would come from an 11 percent increase in your Personal Income Tax. He also wants to make the tax hike retroactive to Jan. 1, so you would have to pay even more taxes on the income you already earned this year.

Many of the people I represent have told me they can’t afford these taxes, and numerous votes in the House over the last year have demonstrated a lack of support for broad-based tax increases like the one the governor is proposing. Apparently, he hasn’t gotten the message.

Finishing the current year’s budget (which remains incomplete as a result of the governor’s line-item veto of about $6 billion in funding) and reaching an agreement on next year’s plan will require compromise, but it will also require respecting the limits of what taxpayers can afford.

Read more about my thoughts on the govenor’s proposal and what comes next here


Committee Approves My Bill to Fund Key Agriculture Programs
Recognizing the importance of supporting our state’s top industry, the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, which I chair, this week approved my legislation to transfer funding to several vital programs.

Those programs aren’t currently being funded because of lingering disagreements over the 2015-16 state budget.

House Bill 1589 amends the state’s Fiscal Code to transfer approximately $25 million from the Race Horse Development Fund to the state’s Veterinary Laboratory System, Animal Health Commission, fairs, State Farm Products Show Fund or the State Racing Fund.

Two of those programs, the Animal Health Commission and the PA Veterinary Lab, support our animal diagnostic laboratory system and play a vital role in the Commonwealth’s efforts to monitor for and protect against the spread of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, a serious threat to the state’s poultry industry.

To read more about our efforts to restore funding for agriculture programs, click here


House Votes to Launch Investigation of Attorney General Kane
The House voted this week to begin an investigation into the conduct of Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who is currently facing several criminal charges stemming from her alleged actions while serving as the state’s chief law enforcement officer.

The resolution directs the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts to conduct a fair and impartial investigation to determine whether or not the House should begin impeachment proceedings.

If the House would vote to bring articles of impeachment against Kane, a public trial would be held by the Senate. That chamber would need a two-thirds vote to convict and remove her from office.

The Pennsylvania Constitution states that the House of Representatives can investigate whether inappropriate conduct by public officials, including the attorney general, merits impeachment.

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