Two Areas Getting My Attention Currently --

Two Areas Getting My Attention Currently --

#1 -- Supporting Republican Dave Battaglia for Commissioner in Armstrong County. Look for posts below about Dave!

#2 -- Supporting legislation that would eliminate the school property tax as a means of funding education in favor of a fair tax, also known as the PA Coalition of Taxpayers Association (PCTA) Plan.

Anonymous comments are frowned upon. I am disallowing all comments with inappropriate content, such as name calling or foul language.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dave Battaglia wins big in Armstrong County Commissioners race

Samantha and I were thrilled to be sharing in the celebration when Dave received the phone calling telling him he was the top vote-getter on the Republican ticket.  Coroner Bob Bower came in second, unseating both of the incumbents -- Jim Scahill with 20 years in office and Patty Kirkpatrick with 8.   News reports attributed the sweep to an anti-incumbent mood in the county; however, I feel certain that Dave won because of his pro-business stance and his belief that a county should be run as a business and expected to be productive.  For his hopes to see business and population growth returning, it's going to be important that conservatives get out to vote in November and keep Republican control in the County Commissioner's offices!  To follow Dave's campaign to victory in November, click here!

County Commissioners election results for Armstrong Co May 17 2011

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How did your Representative Vote on Pension Bill 2497?

Commonwealth Foundation is the best place to get information you can trust and that will tell you the economic impact of what's going on in Harrisburg.  Check to see how your House Representative voted at the link below.  According to CF the Pension Bill approved in the House and sent on to Governor Rendell to sign "will delay payments into the pension fund.  What this means is that, compared to current law, taxpayers will now pay $12 billion less over the next 10 years, then $19 billion MORE over the next 14.  This is essentially pushing the costs onto the next generation. And this depends on 8% return on invesment, which is a rosy scenario"   This is like not paying your credit card bill for years! 

See how your legislator voted.

In the 60th District where I live, Rep Jeff Pyle voted yes and sent out an email to keep his constituents informed, in which he writes:
“I was pleased the speaker called the House back into session so that we could get this bill to the governor’s desk,” Pyle said. “Without changes to the current pension systems, taxpayers throughout the 60th District were faced with significant increases in their school property tax bills to help school districts fund investment losses. State government must take actions that protect taxpayers and this bill accomplishes this goal.”

Under House Bill 2497, changes that would be made to the pension systems include:

• Elimination of the lump sum option, which permits retiring employees to withdraw all of their contributions, while receiving a monthly benefit.
• Raises the retirement age from 60 to 65 for state employees and from 62 to 65 for school employees.
• Increases the vesting period from five years to 10 years.
• Reduces the benefit multiplier from 2.5 percent to 2 percent and from 3 percent to 2 percent for lawmakers, while maintaining the employee contribution rate of 6.25 percent for state employees and 7.5 percent for school employees.
• Capping the retirement benefit under the new plan at the member’s pre-retirement salary, regardless of how many years of service.
• Reduces the liabilities amortization period from 30 years to 24 years.
• Creation of a “shared risk” provision, which would shift investment losses to the employee instead of solely being borne by the taxpayer. The employee’s contribution would be adjusted periodically to reflect any poor investment performance by the fund.

“The changes included in this legislation will only apply to new state and school district employees. Contrary to many reports, those who are currently employed or retired will not be affected in any way,” Pyle said. “These changes will help the long-term health of the pension system to ensure that both funds are able to meet their future obligations.”


Fortunately Governor-elect Tom Corbett is said to be in favor of a 401-K type solution and I see that the Republican leadership, Mike Turzai and Sam Smith, both voted NO on this bill, which is a good sign.  I just hope that a lot of money is not wasted in implementing this legislation after Governor Rendell signs it and before real pension reform measures can be enacted!  I would say that letters of appreciation to the 31 representatives who did vote NO on this bill would be a good idea!

Monday, November 15, 2010

CF Reports "Lame Duck PA Legislature Passes Pension Bill 2497"

HARRISBURG, PA — The Commonwealth Foundation expressed disappointment with today's passage of House Bill 2497, which defers significant pension costs on to future generations while failing to adequately reform the state's largest defined benefit pension systems.
"We attempted to bring fiscal sanity to the pension discussion, but the reality was that self-interested unions were successful in drowning out the voice of the taxpayers," said Matthew J. Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation.  "Despite arguments to the contrary, this bill didn't 'save' the taxpayers any money.  Taxes will still be going up with this 'reform' next year—$646M more just to pay for PSERS and SERS—and every year thereafter.  But it did prevent moving new employees into a Defined Contribution plan—a major victory for labor unions like PSEA, AFSCME and SEIU."
"Yet we remain hopeful that a new administration and new legislature will begin the process of fully reforming Harrisburg to protect the taxpayers in the future," said Brouillette.  "Many lawmakers voted for HB 2497 as the 'first step' to pension reform.  We look forward to working with lawmakers who understand this cannot be the final action, and with new leaders who understand the need for real pension reform and controlled spending."
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The Commonwealth Foundation ( is an independent, non-profit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, PA.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Email Notification from PA Family Institute re vote on pension bill

Caution: ‘Lame-Duck' Session Ahead. State House Democrats called for one last voting day on Monday, November 15. Many Democrats and some Republicans are applauding this decision, stating that they will vote on an “important” pension reform bill. According to our friends at the Commonwealth Foundation, this bill is nothing more than a union pension bailout and does nothing but defer costs, creating a greater tax burden on the next generation. You can learn more from the Commonwealth Foundation. Legislators should wait until the new session begins and a real reform bill can be created to fix the state pension system. Note: So-called lame duck sessions are ripe for mischief because they allow lawmakers who are leaving office (by retirement or losing re-election) to cast votes for which they will not be accountable to the voting public!

More at --

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

House GOP Leadership Election Results Nov 9 2010 (117 pm)

House GOP Leadership Election Results
House Republican Leadership Results:
Speaker: Sam Smith (R-Jefferson)
Leader: Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny)
Appropriations Chairman: Bill Adolph (R-Delaware)
Whip: Stan Saylor (R-York)
Policy Chair: Dave Reed (R-Indiana)
Caucus Administrator: Dick Stevenson (R-Mercer)
Caucus Chair: Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna)
Caucus Secretary: Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery)

More information at --