New Castle News

TOP STORIES

July 8, 2013

Local Legislators: So what did they do in Harrisburg?

HARRISBURG — After leaving Harrisburg without reaching a consensus on transportation funding, liquor privatization, pension reform or Medicaid expansion, lawmakers insist they did not spend the last six months working in vain.

CNHI surveyed seven rural lawmakers from central and western Pennsylvania. They said their efforts in Harrisburg account for only half their jobs.

“I consider all the work that I do as equally important. That’s how I operate both in the district and in Harrisburg,” said Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria County, expressing a sentiment repeated by most lawmakers.

“In Harrisburg, I vote and legislate with my constituents in mind, which also ends up helping those in the rest of the state.”

When it comes to helping out constituents, most lawmakers were most proud of any and all efforts that could be considered job-creating.

Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence County, said he has been working for years to help facilitate efforts to bring a slots casino to Lawrence County. Those efforts took a giant step forward this year when a developer working with Penn National Gaming filed an application for a license to operate the 1,250-slot casino, he said.

Rep. Jaret Gibbons, D-Lawrence County, pointed to the recent completion of a new farmers market and community plaza in Ellwood City.

“This project will bring new life to Ellwood City’s downtown business district and is the result of years of hard work by the local officials and private citizens on the Ellwood City Revitalization Board,” he said, “as well as more than $1.5 million in state and federal funding that my office worked to secure.”

Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer County, pointed to the effort to develop a package of state incentives to help convince a Canadian company to locate a factory in Sharon. Noise Solutions Inc. is expected to hire 125 people in Sharon, he said.

Lawmakers also pointed out that while some of the issues that got the most attention went unresolved, there have been some important legislative accomplishments in Harrisburg in 2013.

Some lawmakers argue that derailing the transportation funding plan and Medicaid expansion stand as a triumph.

“The most significant accomplishment so far this year was protecting the taxpayers,” said Rep. Brad Roae, R-Crawford County.

“We stopped the governor’s proposed 28-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase that would have been devastating for our area. People cannot afford higher taxes. We also stopped Medicaid expansion. We already cover 2.2 million people in Pennsylvania on taxpayer-funded medical programs and cannot afford to cover another 500,000 people.”

Rep. Fred Keller, R-Union County, said that just getting people talking about pension reform and prevailing wage reform was noteworthy. Both issues gained traction in the spring and will be on the agenda when lawmakers return to session, he said.

Passing a budget that does not raise taxes and puts dollars where they’re needed is hardly unimportant, said Rep. Dick Stevenson, R-Mercer County. The budget does not increase taxes and funnels an extra $122 million in basic education dollars to schools, he noted.

But schools are not the only beneficiaries.

“From public safety to agriculture and the environment and from senior citizen services to early childhood initiatives, the breadth of state government programs have a direct and real impact in our communities,” Stevenson said.

“That’s why achieving a responsible and timely budget, that prioritizes the core functions of government, is important.”

(Email: jfinnerty@cnhi.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
TOP STORIES
  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • money.jpg Shenango computers, financial papers seized

    Investigators have seized computers and a host of financial paperwork from the Shenango Township Municipal Building.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • money.jpg Second warrant issued in Shenango Township finances probe

    The home office of Shenango Township’s secretary/treasurer is the subject of a search warrant. A warrant was approved allowing investigators from the Lawrence County district attorney’s office to search Brian Tanner’s home office at 658 Melody Lane Extension in Shenango and seize all computers and computer records.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Our Opinion: Who’s watching the money in Shenango Township?

    The Shenango Township supervisors have some explaining to do. And that’s putting it mildly.

    July 15, 2014 1 Story

  • Shenango places Tanner on leave, schedules meeting

    The Shenango Township supervisors have placed their secretary/treasurer on leave. In a statement faxed late Monday afternoon to the New Castle News, the supervisors said Brian Tanner had been placed on “administrative leave” as the result of a search warrant served on the township municipal building Friday.

    July 15, 2014

  • DROWN.jpg Local teen drowns in Slippery Rock Creek

    Divers from several fire departments responded yesterday to a drowning in the Kennedy Mill area of Slippery Rock Creek. Reports from the scene indicated that two teenage males from the Ellwood-Wampum area had gone swimming in the creek, and that one had gone under and not resurfaced.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 fell from the sky in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard. Many are speculating that Russian rebels (supported by Vladimir Putin) are responsible for downing the aircraft. What do you think?

Yes. All evidence points that way.
No. Everyone is so quick to point fingers, but there's not enough evidence to support claims of Russian guilt.
I'm not sure. I'll just wait until the investigation is over to make up my mind.
What is up with these Malaysian Airlines planes? I know one airline I won't be flying any time soon...
     View Results