Let's REFORM and RENEW Pennsylvania
It is clear - from nearly every metric - that our state government has been failing the citizens of the Commonwealth. Despite having some of the best resources any state would desire -- an educated and hard-working work force and being blessed with numerous natural resources -- PA routinely ranks in the bottom half of states on far too many measures.
Our state government has been fundamentally broken, and it is time to fix it! We have one of the most costly and largest state legislatures in the country. I am committed to making decisions that serve the citizens of PA and not myself. As such I will not accept a state funded lifetime pension, and I will work to reduce the benefits of the legislature at every turn.
True Balanced Budgets
We need true balanced budgets in Pennsylvania. Our governor and legislature have been playing a game that leaves citizens as the loser. Our leaders agree on how much to spend in a budget, but then can't agree on how to pay for it. This has led to Pennsylvania taxpayers being forced to absorb more and more operational debt leading to negative credit/bond outlooks by major rating agencies. I will NOT vote for a state budget unless we know how to pay for it with simultaneous revenue plans.
Reforming the General Assembly
We have the 2nd most costly state legislature in the country. We need to return Pennsylvania to a part-time legislature and cut the excessive perks and benefits from state pensions to free cars to per diems that our legislators often grow to love and abuse at taxpayer expense.
Real Pension Reform
Half step measures are not enough and are not acceptable. We need full reform now. Pennsylvania's unfunded pension debt for state and school employees is staggering -- at least $75 Billion. The payments required on pensions are already crippling many school and municipal budgets and leading to local property tax hikes. Pennsylvania needs to stop the bleeding by having most new hires (non-emergency services) enter a "401K" style, defined contribution plan as is done by nearly all private employers. We also need to develop a long-term plan to secure the promises we have made to
teachers and public employees and to address the massive pension debt we currently have. I will protect the pensions of our current and past employees while working to give future employees more flexibility. I appreciate all the work that all of government employees have done and
Transportation System Reform - Gas Tax
Pennsylvania has the highest gas tax in the country and some of the worst roads and bridges. Our traditional approach of waiting till infrastructure is close to failure and the doing costly replacements costs taxpayers 10x as much as a more proactive maintenance approach! Could you imagine if you bought a new car and never changed the oil? Or could you imagine if you had a small leak in your roof and waited to take action until it had ruined your whole house. Sadly, Pennsylvania has largely taken this 'build it and forget it' approach on our infrastructure for far too long. Instead of "paying to change the oil" we all too often opt to "buy the new car". More taxes and money is not the solution -- better management is the solution!
We need a Clean Slate in our State Government!