Reforming the Budget Process
12/15/2017
The Weekly Roundup
 The latest news from the State Capitol
                          
Reforming the Budget Process

In ongoing efforts to stand up for taxpayers, the House this week approved historic legislation to change budget-making in Harrisburg by bringing integrity, transparency and spending limits to the state budget and budget process.

The legislative package – House Bills 1940-1945 – requires transparency through an official estimate of how much money the state will have, more information about the balances in taxpayer-supported special funds used to provide grants and subsidies, and the creation of monetary reserves during revenue shortfalls.

Additionally, a proposed state constitutional amendment to limit state spending, House Bill 110, would impose a cap based on recent increases in the Consumer Price Index and state population growth. A constitutional amendment must be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions and then by the state’s voters.

These measures, which are now headed to the Senate, are in addition to a new state law requiring performance-based budgeting. This information will help legislators decide which programs to fund and which to shut down.
                
         
Extending CHIP

To help ensure coverage of the popular and successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), legislation is currently on the governor’s desk to extend the program for two more years.

For 25 years, CHIP has provided insurance coverage to uninsured children and teens (up to age 19) whose families earn too much to qualify for Medical Assistance, but who cannot afford to purchase private insurance. More than 180,000 children are currently enrolled in CHIP. Learn more here.
                  
         
 
Preventing Loss of Taxpayer Dollars in Sex Cases

I am co-sponsoring legislation which will soon be introduced in the House that would keep taxpayer dollars from going toward payouts in sexual harassment cases involving state employees. The measure would require repayment from the individual for any attorney fees incurred for a sexual harassment case or other related matter that ends with a guilty verdict or a civil liability determination.

The citizens of Pennsylvania should not be held financially accountable for the personal misconduct of any employee of this Commonwealth - particularly when that misconduct relates to sexual harassment.
                  
         
Farmers Be Counted!

Farmers across Pennsylvania are encouraged to take part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture being conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The census seeks to count anyone who earns at least $1,000 per year growing food or other crops. The data is used to develop food and agriculture policies and programs for the entire country, including funding decisions.

Census questionnaires are being mailed to farmers, ranchers and growers this month. The 2017 census form, which requires an estimated 50 minutes to complete, must be returned by Feb. 5, 2018, but respondents are encouraged to respond online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.

With Pennsylvania a leader in the agriculture industry, it is important our farmers and producers stand up and be counted.
                  
         
‘Tis the Season at the Capitol

The Capitol Rotunda is all decked out for the holiday season! The 22-foot Douglas fir came from a farm in Lehighton, Carbon County, and is decorated with ornaments made by preschoolers and senior citizens from around the state.
                  
Let's Get Connected
 
Our District
Web Site

RepSimmons.com