Senator Yudichak Statement on EF-2 Tornado in Wilkes-Barre Township

Wilkes-Barre Township, June 14, 2018 – State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) issued the following statement after it was confirmed that an EF-2 tornado hit Wilkes-Barre Township:

Senator Yudichak tours the tornado damage in Wilkes-Barre Township with Governor Wolf and Mayor Kuren.

“Touring the tornado damage today in Wilkes-Barre Township with Governor Wolf and Mayor Kuren, I cannot help but be profoundly grateful that there was no loss of life or serious personal injuries,” said Senator Yudichak.

Senator Yudichak was near the tornado corridor last night with his family watching his oldest daughter play field hockey at the Kings College athletic fields. The games were canceled around 9:30 p.m., and the tornado touched down at 10:06 p.m. after the families safely vacated the area.

“You have to think of it as the miracle on Mundy Street when you consider that the area where the tornado hit is generally populated with thousands of employees, customers, and hundreds of young athletes,” added Senator Yudichak.

“Our job now, at all levels of government, is to quickly work with the damaged businesses and help them rebuild so we can get every displaced worker back to work and our economy growing again.”

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Media Advisory: Sen. Yudichak to Host a Press Conference on the Fight for Family Sustaining Jobs

January 24, 2017 – Senator Yudichak will host “The Fight for Family Sustaining Jobs” press conference with Representative Gerald Mullery (D-119) to recognize the work of community leaders and PA DOC employees who rallied to save three northeastern Pennsylvania prisons (SCI- Retreat, SCI-Frackville, SCI-Waymart) from closure. They will also thank Governor Tom Wolf for listening to the voices in our community who fought to keep over 1,000 family sustaining jobs in NEPA, and report on the progress of legislation requiring at least one public hearing before a state prison can be closed.

WHO:  State Senator John Yudichak (D-14), Representative Gerald Mullery (D-119), Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis, Luzerne County Manager Dave Pedri, Voices of Joe Founder Don Williams, and others impacted by last year’s proposed prison closures.

WHAT: Senator Yudichak will host The Fight for Family Sustaining Jobs” press conference with Representative Gerald Mullery (D-119) to recognize the work of community leaders and PA DOC employees who rallied to save three northeastern Pennsylvania prisons (SCI- Retreat, SCI-Frackville, SCI-Waymart) from closure. They will also thank Governor Tom Wolf for listening to the voices in our community who fought to keep over 1,000 family sustaining jobs in NEPA, and report on the progress of legislation requiring at least one public hearing before a state prison can be closed.

WHERE:    Morris Family Restaurant | 72 East Poplar Street | West Nanticoke, PA 18634
                       There is parking in the back of the building.

WHEN:        Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

Senator Yudichak, Representative Pashinski and Mayor Tony George Announce Disaster Recovery Funding for Solomon Creek

Wilkes-Barre, PA — November 28, 2017 — Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne County) and City of Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George announced today that the City of Wilkes-Barre will receive over $2.3 million in funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED)’s CDBG-Disaster Recovery Fund. The announcement will boost total state funding for the complete reconstruction of the Solomon Creek flood control system to $4.6 million. An additional $4 million in city funds have been made available through debt refinancing, bringing the total overall state and local financial commitment to the project to more than $8.6 million. 

“The residents of the Solomon Creek section of Wilkes-Barre have long been promised comprehensive restoration of the flood protection system, and today’s announcement of $2.3 million in DCED Disaster Recover Funds brings us one giant step closer to its delivery and implementation,” said State Senator John Yudichak. “Homeowners and business owners have endured three floods in the last decade, and they watched helplessly last year as a forty-foot section of the flood wall collapsed at their feet,” noted Senator Yudichak. “In the past year, state and city officials have aggressively collaborated to develop a Solomon Creek flood control restoration plan that has secured more than $8.6 million to invest in flood protection. We greatly appreciate the work of DCED Secretary Dennis Davin and the Wolf Administration for recognizing the critical public safety importance of the Solomon Creek project and for their continued efforts to work with us to obtain additional funding to fully execute our plan,” added Senator Yudichak.

“The Solomon Creek retaining walls provide flood protection for over 700 homes and businesses in the South Wilkes-Barre area,” Representative Pashinski said. “These walls were built in the 1930s and have sustained considerable wear and tear over time. The recent high waters damaged portions of this system and now need immediate attention. Working cooperatively with Governor Tom Wolf, Mayor Tony George, State Senator John Yudichak, Senator Bob Casey and Congressman Matt Cartwright we have all devoted great efforts to acquire sufficient dollars to complete the renovation of the areas in distress. I’m pleased to announce that we have been granted $2.3 million toward this multi-million-dollar project,” said Representative Pashinski.

“I am grateful to Governor Wolf, Senator Yudichak, and Representative Pashinski and their respective staffs for their commitment and diligence to the residents of Wilkes-Barre. The lives and livelihood of many citizens depend on the fortitude of the Solomon Creek wall. The city would not have been able to repair the retaining walls without the leadership of our legislators, as we were in dire need of financial assistance. The wall has been in disrepair since 1998. Twenty years later, it is finally beginning to be restored thanks to our partners in Harrisburg,” said Mayor Tony George.

In 2011, the Solomon Creek retaining wall was severely damaged by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee and in November 2016, a 40-foot section of the retaining wall collapsed into the creek. With today’s announcement, the City of Wilkes-Barre has received $4.6 million in state funds for Solomon Creek. 

The $4.6 million in improvements to the Solomon Creek flood protection system will include reconstruction of retaining walls and improvements of pumping stations from Waller Street to Regent Street in Wilkes-Barre.

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Democratic Senators to Gov. Wolf and General Assembly: Make Rebuilding Manufacturing a Priority

Senator John Yudichak

Senator Vincent Hughes

Senator Jim Brewster

Op-ed by state Sen. John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Sen. Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia), Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland)

October 23, 2017 − National Manufacturing Day is the first Friday in October.  While noting the importance of manufacturing on this one day is important, the focus on rebuilding our manufacturing base should be a priority for the governor and the General Assembly each day. 

That is why we’ve joined together to sponsor a comprehensive package of legislation that is designed to address the needs of manufacturers, our workers and the communities where they live, work and raise their families. 

Our legislation seeks to better coordinate policy through the creation of a “Chief Manufacturing Officer;” infuse new dollars into targeted vocational and technical training; expand the Manufacturing Tax Credit and earmark credits to help build manufacturing in distressed communities while aiding disadvantaged, minority, women and veteran-owned businesses.

There is no doubt that manufacturing is a critically important part of our economy. Large employers who drive local economies and small mom-and-pop entrepreneurs are all key aspects.  According to the Center for Manufacturing Research, manufacturing accounts for 12 percent of our gross state product, employs nearly 10 percent of our workers — over 565,000 — and accounts for $33 billion in annual exports. 

The value of manufacturing is even more pronounced in rural areas.  A recent study by the Northeast Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center indicates that manufacturing represents almost 15 percent of non-urban jobs, with average compensation more than 20 percent above the regional worker wage level. 

To ensure that manufacturing remains a viable and valuable force in our state economy, policymakers need to stay up with trends and accommodate changes in the market.   If we fail to work collaboratively, we will face losing more jobs and business opportunities.   According to the state Bureau of Labor Statistics, since 2001 Pennsylvania has lost 264,000 jobs in manufacturing and 5,400 establishments. 

There are a great many challenges that manufacturers face.  A recent study of national manufacturing by Ball State University indicated that manufacturing employment has been affected by three distinct factors: productivity, trade and domestic demand. 

Our workers and our manufacturing establishments have become more innovative, use more technology based systems and require fewer workers per location.  Yet, even with these well-entrenched changes now altering the manufacturing landscape, there is still room for lawmakers to aid large and small manufacturing businesses. 

Senate Bill 923 would create a “Chief Manufacturing Officer” within the governor’s office to provide advice on economic policy and be a singular voice for manufacturers at the highest level.  The measure also establishes a “Manufacturing Competitiveness Board” to help develop manufacturing strategy. 

Another bill (Senate Bill 924) would direct up to $5 million to a grant program for vocational technical schools, vocational programs and equipment purchases.   The legislation would increase the maximum loan amount from $5 million to $7.5 million and authorize loans to retrofit equipment.  This investment would help schools acquire the equipment necessary to produce a skilled workforce that can be employed in state-of-the-art manufacturing operations. 

The third legislative piece in the package would maximize the Manufacturing Tax Credit.  Senate Bill 925 would increase the credit cap to $12.5 million from its current $4 million, expand the credit to include job training costs, and allow small manufacturers to apply jointly for the credit.  A $2.5 million piece of the tax credit would be reserved for businesses located in distressed communities in addition to disadvantaged, minority, women and veterans owned businesses. 

Our legislative work is designed to follow up on a detailed report authored earlier this decade by the Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council.  In this sweeping analysis of manufacturing, the blue-ribbon panel recommended several actions that could aid manufacturing.

Specifically, the study reported that 82 percent of manufacturers had a serious gap in worker skill level and 74 percent indicated that the skill-gap hampered the ability to expand.  Meanwhile, 78 percent of manufacturers were negatively impacted by a lack of access to capital. 

Moreover, the report emphasizes the need for a single point of contact in state government to connect manufacturers to solutions.  The report also recommends focusing attention on information sharing to enhance productivity. 

Policy proposals to address each of these needs are key parts of our legislative plan. 

The series of legislative measures that we’ve offered will address the critical needs of manufacturers.  In this month when Manufacturing Day is recognized, it is time for the General Assembly and the governor to focus on policies to rebuild our communities and make our workforce a priority.

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Sen. Yudichak Comments on Gov. Wolf’s Budget Proposal

Harrisburg, February 9, 2016 – State Sen. John Yudichak today provided the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s $32.7 billion fiscal 2016-17 budget proposal:

“It is unacceptable that we begin discussions on a new fiscal year without having a complete state budget in the current fiscal year,” said State Senator John Yudichak.

“Partisan politics in Harrisburg has created a state of paralysis while Pennsylvania faces a growing $1.8 billion structural deficit that threatens to erode all of our investments in education, job creation, health care and environmental protection.”

“The Cinderella clock has struck midnight on short-term fiscal gimmicks and the fantasy budgets of the past four years have come crashing back to the hard reality of five consecutive credit downgrades.”

“The Governor and the General Assembly should have a single focus a single mission over the next few months – restore fiscal stability to the state budget process by addressing Pennsylvania’s structural deficit with a responsible budget that recognizes state spending is far out pacing current revenues.”

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