Subscribe to enewsletter.
    Twitter/Facebook    
Sen. Yudichak Reports

Budget Proposal Wrongly Built on One-Time Gimmicks

Sen. Yudichak budget reaction
Sen. Yudichak reacts to the governor's 2013-14 state budget proposal

When the governor gave his first budget address two years ago, he promised Pennsylvanians a departure from politics-as-usual and an end to one-time gimmicks that generate unsustainable revenues and only serve to temporarily mask larger budget problems.
 
Unfortunately, the governor’s $28.4 billion budget proposal is built solely on gimmicks and sleight of hand that will hamstring state budgets for years to come.
 
​This administration has set Pennsylvania on a radical, partisan course – one driven by Washington think tanks and without regard for the Pennsylvania taxpayers. Local property taxes are going up because state investment is going down in education, human services and transportation.
 
Our children’s education is being held hostage to the one-time, false promise of the governor’s liquor privatization plan. Plans to privatize the lottery and liquor stores – state assets that generate consistent, predictable revenues – are ill-conceived and will put another 40,000 Pennsylvanians out of work on top of the 20,000 that have already lost jobs under this administration.
 
In Northeastern Pennsylvania, we continue to fight an uphill battle against alarmingly high unemployment rates and frustrating job creation numbers. By failing to invest in education, transportation and health care – our regions number one employer – this budget will cripple our regional economy.
 
The Hospital Association of Pennsylvania suggests that if the governor fails to expand Medicaid, it will cost our hospital millions of dollars and potentially thousands of jobs.
 
Across Pennsylvania, families have lost their jobs and have been cut from their health care and today’s budget address provided them with little hope for better days ahead. We need to reinvest in families and stop the partisan governing that has placed ideology above common sense solutions to Pennsylvania’s pressing problems.

Sen. Yudichak and Dave ShipulaLiquor Privatization Plan Hurts Distributors

The administration’s plan to privatize our state-run wine and spirits store is another ill-advised, partisan driven plan that will cripple many small businesses across the Commonwealth.

On Friday, February 1, I stood with small business owner Dave Shipula to discuss how the governor’s privatization plan would negatively affect his Wilkes-Barre beer distributor. Our beer distributors have worked in Pennsylvania. They’ve generated a tremendous amount of economic impact and tax revenue and it’s predictable. To end that system, on the promise of a one-time, $1 billion windfall; it simply does not add up.

Here is a look at some of the local news coverage of Friday’s event:

Commenting on the Paterno Report

Yet again, the late Joe Paterno and his widow, Sue, are teaching us lessons on how to deal with life’s challenges by imploring us to seek the full truth in the Jerry Sandusky scandal because only the truth can serve Sandusky’s victims and prevent such heinous crimes from occurring again.
 
The concerns raised by former Attorney General of the United States and former Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh substantively and dramatically pull apart the weak threads of the Freeh report’s core conclusion that Joe Paterno acted within a group of leaders at Penn State to conceal Sandusky’s actions to avoid bad publicity.

Joe Paterno statueGovernor Thornburgh’s analysis busts the door wide open on the fundamentally flawed investigation embodied in the Freeh report that relied on anonymous testimony, limited data, and virtually no personal interviews of the central individuals involved as the basis of its broad, speculative conclusions.
 
It appears the Penn State Board of Trustees, in commissioning the Freeh report, simply wanted to close the narrative on the Sandusky scandal by accepting the report without question and allowing it to be used as the foundation for the devastating NCAA sanctions. The rush to close the narrative has not pushed us closer to the truth and it has not served to advance efforts to help the victims of Jerry Sandusky and the prevention of child sexual abuse.

I am convinced that the leadership of the Board of Trustees, at the time the Sandusky scandal broke, failed in its primary role of stewardship and should have sought an outside investigation of the University governance issues by the special committee of General Assembly – which was clearly independent of the board and possessed full subpoena power to compel accurate testimony for the record.
 
I continue to work with colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, who are concerned about the governance procedures at Penn State and our other state related universities. I am encouraged that Sen. Smucker will soon undertake State Government committee hearings on these issues, and I plan to offer him my full support in coming to a thoughtful remedy that enhances the operational governance structures at our universities.
 
It is my fervent hope that the Paterno report spurs further dialogue on how child sex abuse is dealt with in our society, and that, as Sue Paterno noted, an ‘actionable set of lessons’ can be taken from this terrible tragedy and our children can be better protected in the future.
 
A final, obvious, conclusion from the Paterno report is that the NCAA acted recklessly by imposing crushing sanctions upon Penn State without conducting its own investigation; instead, the incomplete and inaccurate conclusions from the Freeh report became the solitary basis for its unprecedented actions.

Downtown Hazleton Economic Development Project Receives State Grant

I am proud to announce the award of a $750,000 state grant to HDC Inc. to continue the development of the Hayden Tower at the Markle Building in downtown Hazleton.
 
The grant was one of 54 new Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) Economic Growth Initiative grants totaling nearly $125 million that were announced by the governor yesterday.
 
The relocation of DBi Services’ corporate world headquarters to downtown Hazleton is critically important to the future of our economy and it will bring much-needed jobs back into our community – and the rehabilitation of Hayden Tower partially-funded by this grant project is central to the relocation

I applaud the administration for recognizing the necessity and urgency of this project to the residents of Luzerne County.
 
Read more on the grant and the Hadyen Tower project in the Standard Speaker and the Times Leader.

DCNR Recreation and Conservation Grant Program Accepting Applications

DCNRThe application period for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' (DCNR) recreation and conservation grant program is now open. Applications will be accepted now through April 10, 2013.

In 2013, the grant program encourages applications that advance local conservation and recreation vision. The program also seeks applications that implements Pennsylvania's Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan and DCNR's strategic plan.

Eligible applicants include municipalities, municipal agencies, pre-qualified land trusts, appropriate/authorized organizations, and 501(c)(3) non-profits. More details on program priorities, guidance on how to apply and help for applicants can be found online.

DCNR's Bureau of Recreation and Conservation will be holding five workshops and a webinar this month and next to assist applicants with submitting proposals. To sign up for a workshop, click here.

Last year, $26.5 million was awarded to communities through the DCNR grant program.

Medium, Light-weight Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program Announced

DEPThe Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently announced that they will open a grant program to include medium to light-weight natural gas vehicles. The application period for the first round of grants under the Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program closed on February 1.

Approximately $10 million in grants will be available through the Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant Program for organizations, non-profit agencies, for-profit companies, commonwealth or municipal authorities and local transportation organizations. The grant funds available will include an opportunity to propose projects which will convert or purchase natural gas vehicles weighing less than 14,000 pounds as well as convert or purchase electric, propane, or other alternative fuel vehicles of any size.

Applicants interested in purchasing or converting one or two alternative fuel vehicles will be encouraged to join forces and aggregate into a single application to satisfy the five vehicle minimum required for application. Applications will also be accepted for innovation in alternative fuel transportation, including non-road vehicles such as natural gas trains or tug boats.

For more information on the grant program click here. If you are interested in signing up to receive email updates as more details about the grant program become available, send an email to RA-EPNGVehicles@pa.gov

Facebook Stay Connected

For updates on this and other legislative initiatives, stay in touch with me on the Internet through my website or on Facebook and Twitter.

 
June 22, 2011 - Senate Democrats to Discuss Marcellus Shale Fee Amendment June 26, 2011 - Senate and House Democrats joined today to urge Republican leaders to “do the right thing” and pass a responsible severance fee on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.