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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 August 24, 2015

Senate State Government and Finance Committee Joint Hearing
Much of the reporting on the 2015-16 budget impasse has been focused on potential increased spending and to increase tax revenues to fund that spending. The even greater responsibility of state government to spend the revenues it has wisely and get proven results in exchange for those expenditures has been overlooked.

For that reason, the Senate State Government Committee, which I chair, and the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Eichelberger, held a joint hearing to examine what is being done across the nation to address costs, as well as how Pennsylvania ranks with other states in addressing its fiscal challenges. The first hearing was Thursday, August 20. During this hearing, we received testimony from national organizations on PA’s fiscal health, tax climate and best practices for budgeting.

According to a July 2015 study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition,” Pennsylvania ranks 41st among the states for its fiscal health: 45th in cash solvency, 39th in budget solvency, 36th in long-run solvency, 17th in service-level solvency, and 26th in trust fund solvency. Clearly, we need to be proactive in ensuring the taxpayers get their money’s worth.

There is also historical precedent for the Legislature to look at how taxpayer resources are spent. One of the best examples is from 1941 when then US Senator Harry Truman formed the “Truman Committee” to look at how Billions of dollars’ of tax moneys were being spent and, in the process, found ways to save Millions – without compromising the national defense at a time of war. The “Truman Committee” is estimated to have generated cost savings of about $15 Billion – a sizeable sum both then and now.

With this in mind, our committees took a page from Senator Truman by looking at ways Pennsylvania can use examples from other states to better control spending – and ultimately save taxpayers’ money. Our goal is to squeeze every penny from each tax dollar. Video of the hearing, the agenda and testimony can be viewed here.

Pennsylvania Bureau of Unclaimed Property
More than $2.5 Billion of unclaimed property is waiting to be claimed by its rightful owners. Search to see if you or your company are on the list at

Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund Public Library Grants
Act 50 of 1993 established the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund. The Pennsylvania Department of Education, through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, administers the public library portion of this program through a competitive grant process used to award matching planning, acquisition, construction and rehabilitation grants to municipalities that sponsor state-aided public libraries. Grants are awarded to municipalities for up to 50 percent of eligible costs for public libraries facilities projects, and a dollar-for-dollar match is required for each project awarded grant funds. I am pleased that the Lebanon Community Library was granted $24,650 for rehabilitation of the library building by repair and replacement of Dryvit over the entire building.

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.

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