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Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Legislative District, the State Capitol, and the progress of my legislative priorities. If you haven't done so already, please take a few moments to visit my website at to learn more about issues that may affect you and your family.

Week of March 9, 2015

Governor’s Budget Address
On March 3, Governor Wolf delivered his budget address to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate. Some details of the address include: 

  • Reduce school district property taxes by $3.8 billion in 2016
    • Reduce homeowner taxes by an average of more than 50 percent

    My thoughts: Pennsylvania needs total elimination of school property taxes. Senate Bill 76, the Property Tax Independence Act, would do just that. With taxpayers shouldering nearly $12 Billion in school property taxes alone, I don’t see how a $3.8 Billion reduction – even if it works – equals a 50% reduction for taxpayers.

  • Make the business tax climate more competitive
    • Propose a 5.99 percent Corporate Net Income Tax rate effective January 1, 2016, reduced further to 4.99 percent by 2018
    • Complete the promised phase out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax effective January 1, 2016
    • Implement mandatory combined reporting effective January 1, 2016, closing the “so-called” Delaware loophole
    • Adopt a revised bank shares tax

    My thoughts: PA needs a more attractive business climate. This is why I’m a cosponsor of: SB 443 (Corporate Tax Reform); Senator Bob Mensch’s Jobs Initiative Package (reducing the Personal Income Tax, reducing the Corporate Net Income Tax Rate and uncapping the Net Operating Loss Carryforward); Right to Work legislation and the Small Business Reform Package: SB 601 (Like-Kind Exchanges), SB 602 (Net Operating Loss) and SB 603 (Section 179 Expense Deductions).

  • Increase the minimum wage

    My thoughts: The burden of increasing the minimum wage will be passed on via higher prices for goods and services. This will also hurt small businesses and younger wage earners who will have fewer opportunities for entry level jobs.
  • Increase spending:
    • Implement a $1.75 Billion Job Growth plan
    • Restore previous Higher Education reductions
    • Propose a Marcellus Shale Tax targeted to fund Education
    • Increase Basic Education funding
    • Pass a $3 Billion Pension Obligation Bond
    • Reintegrate Medicaid Expansion into a single delivery system
    • Transition to Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care
    • Increase County Human Services funding

Most agree Pennsylvania has a structural deficit caused by expenditures exceeding revenues. How does increasing expenditures fix the problem? The Pennsylvania Senate Republicans response to the Governor’s budget address can be viewed here.

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House
All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.
Senate Bill 42 – penalties for falsely claiming to be a veteran on driver’s licenses;
Senate Bill 130 – prohibits defendants sentenced to community service from purchasing credit towards that service;
Senate Bill 266 – Franklin County land conveyance.

Small Business Reform Package
I was happy to participate in a media roundtable discussion with a number of my Senate and House colleagues and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in regards to our Small Business Reform Package:

  • SB 601 (Folmer) / HB 700 (Bloom) – Like-Kind Exchanges
  • SB 602 (Eichelberger) / HB 701 (Grove) – Net Operating Loss
  • SB 603 (Hutchinson) / HB 702 (Dunbar) – Section 179 Expense Deductions
Senator Folmer

Pictured at table, left to right: Representative Stephen Bloom, myself, Senator Scott Hutchinson and NFIB PA State Director Kevin Shivers.

Obtaining a Pennsylvania Birth Certificate
The Pennsylvania Department of Health Division of Vital Records informed my office the Harrisburg Public Office (First Floor, Forum Building, 555 Walnut Street) can no longer process birth certificate applications for same day service. It is now taking 48 hours (two business days) to process. They can mail the birth certificates to requestors as long as they can prove their current mailing address at the time they are applying. If the requestor chooses to have the certificate mailed, they must allow 10 business days for processing. If the requestor wishes for someone else (providing they are an eligible requestor) to pick up the birth certificate, they must give permission to that person at the time of applying and inform Vital Records who will be picking it up. 

The Scranton Public Office (Room 112 Scranton State Office Building, 100 Lackawanna Avenue) is still currently offering same day service if customers are there by 11:30 a.m. Requestors can also apply for birth certificates online, by mail, or in my Lebanon District Office (Room 101 Municipal Building, 400 South 8th Street). In my office, a requestor must provide a non-expired state ID with your current address (or two statements/bills with your current name and address) and a check or money order.

Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Town Hall Meeting: Annville, PA
I will be holding a medical cannabis (SB3) and industrial hemp (SB50) town hall meeting on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Leedy Theater, located in Mund College Center at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA.

Speakers for the evening include:

  • Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack
  • State Senator Mike Folmer (sponsor of SB3 and cosponsor of SB50)
  • State Senator Daylin Leach (cosponsor of SB3 and SB50)
  • State Senator Judy Schwank (sponsor of SB50 and cosponsor SB3)
  • Dr. Jahan Marcu, Director of Research and Development at Green Standard Diagnostics, Senior Scientist at Americans for Safe Access, and an Auditor for the Patient Focuses Certification program
  • Lolly Bentch Myers, Mother
  • Dana Ulrich, Mother
  • Les Stark, Hempstone Heritage
  • Erica McBride, Keystone Cannabis Coalition

All are welcome to attend, including advocates, those seeking more information, the agricultural industry and media. A question and answer session will be held at the conclusion of all speakers. Seating is limited to 180, on a first come, first serve basis. If you have any questions, please contact Fallon in my office at 717-787-5708 or

Contact Information
Please feel free to contact me at any time on state-related issues that are of concern to you. I may be reached through my website or my Lebanon or Harrisburg offices.

When contacting my office by e-mail, mail, or telephone, please be sure to share your e-mail, telephone number, and address so that we can follow up with you in a timely manner. Many inquiries can be handled with a phone call or email.

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