Learning from the Past, Planning for the Future
1/3/2014
Happy New Year to you and yours!

To prepare for 2014, I held a conference call with my staff in my district office and at the State Capitol to develop a legislative plan for the New Year. The plan is an update of my two-year legislative session plan that we developed at the end of 2012. It includes consideration of legislation that I will personally introduce and legislation that has been referred to me as Chairman of the State Government Committee. It also includes State Government Committee hearings, district events and State Capitol events, such as my annual 2nd Amendment Action Day. In preparation for the New Year, I also reviewed my office budget. The state legislative expense accounts that I have direct control over have received the same annual appropriation since I was first elected in 1998. Operating my office on a zero growth budget for 15 years is just one way that I lead by example. Our government should live within its means.

When I was hired by DuPont in 1986, the manager that I worked for gave me sound advice related to my new corporate expense account. He told me to spend it like it was my own money. If those serving in our government would make decisions to spend taxpayer dollars as if it were their own money, then we would have much less frivolous spending and a much more efficient government.

I am reminded of this especially after seeing the price of gasoline jump by 10 cents per gallon overnight from New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day, due to the Corbett gas tax increase. Almost seven billion dollars was already being spent on transportation in Pennsylvania before Corbett’s push for the two billion dollar gas tax increase. Legislators should have demanded efficiency changes and elimination of the prevailing wage, which caters to the unions by artificially inflating wages on government projects. Also, reprioritizing our state spending could have delivered any additional money needed for improving our roads and bridges. Instead of spending taxpayer dollars as if it were their own money, the majority of legislators gave into the unions and special interest businesses who aggressively lobbied through the halls of the Capitol for the Corbett gas tax increase.

Another example of lobbying efforts against the people’s best interests is related to legislation that would require pre-employment drug testing of school employees. Common sense legislation, don’t you agree? Guess who didn’t agree? The Pennsylvania State Education Association, better known as the teachers’ union.

As a soldier serving in the U.S. Army during the early 1980s, I was required, as were my fellow soldiers, to submit to random, unannounced drug tests. The legislation that we considered was only for pre-employment drug testing.

It is perplexing that a group of adults who pursued and acquired academic degrees to enable them to work with children and who generally claim to represent the best interests of children would oppose protecting children from being taught by someone using illegal drugs of abuse. The teachers’ union hires lobbyists to work the halls of the Capitol to advance its agenda. The organization not only lobbies against the best interests of children, but it also lobbies regularly against the best interest of taxpayers.

As we enter the New Year, rest assured that I will continue fighting to protect hardworking taxpayers!