State Capitol Update – March 25, 2011
3/25/2011

A summary of important events and legislation on Capitol Hill
Provided by Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams/Franklin) 

Pay freeze for state officials

This week I announced that I will be introducing legislation to suspend automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for Pennsylvania judges, executive branch employees and members of the General Assembly for two years.  Your response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I thank you for your support. In his budget address, Gov. Tom Corbett outlined some tough cost-saving measures aimed at addressing the state’s $4 billion budget deficit. The governor is proposing a one-year wage freeze for Pennsylvania teachers and extending the two-year pay freeze for state employees for yet another year.  During this period of economic difficulty and uncertainty when our teachers, state employees and so many others throughout the Commonwealth are being asked to sacrifice, I fail to see how elected officials can accept an automatic wage increase.  For more information, go to RepMoul.com.  To see my video comments, go to http://www.repmoul.com/youtubevideo.aspx

Investigation ordered into school funding irregularities

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has been asked to conduct an immediate investigation into widespread statistical deficiencies in student enrollment and attendance data in the School District of Philadelphia.  This data is essential in determining the level of state and federal funding school districts receive.  Philadelphia is, by far, the largest recipient of state general education and special education funding. In fact, school funding for Philadelphia has experienced steady increases while the schools in my legislative district are facing severe cuts.  An audit by state Auditor General Jack Wagner showed that for at least a decade, the School District of Philadelphia has been unable to provide sufficient data to show that it was entitled to funding increases.   

Budget News

Budget hearings continued this week in Harrisburg.  The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) says it needs $3.5 billion to fund the state’s ailing infrastructure.  House Republicans have advocated for the development of public-private partnerships, known as P3s, to finance and rebuild deteriorating roads and bridges across the Commonwealth.  

Corrections officials testified this week that they are looking for ways to continue reducing the state’s prison population and save taxpayer dollars.  Acting Secretary John Wetzel urged lawmakers to work toward clarifying definitions of non-violent offenders.  Moving non-violent offenders out of prison and into institutional or community facilities relieves prison overcrowding and reduces recidivism.

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