Getting out of Harrisburg for an evening is a good thing

Article posted on June 30, 2009

Tonight. I did what in Harrisburg is called a “Slam”. I drove back to the district for a parade and then back to Harrisburg. The parade was great, there is a lot of support for my Marriage Protection Amendment out there. I heard a lot of people yell to me that they didn’t want a tax increase, but I heard dozens of calls of support for me to stand firm on the Marriage Protection Amendment. It’s good to be back with real folks who aren’t afraid to speak the truth and expect me to do the same. Getting out of Harrisburg for an evening is a healthy thing.

It’s called leadership and he ain’t got it

Article posted on June 29, 2009

I’m back in Harrisburg and waiting on any news about the budget. There was a meeting scheduled for tonight at the Governor’s Mansion with the leadership of the four caucuses. I doubt if anything much will come of it, but we can all hope. I get emails from constituents about the budget and did an interview today with a local paper about it. The situation is tough to explain to people. They want to know where things are, and you tell them nowhere, then they ask how do we move forward, and I explain that we are miles apart and that the Governor needs to come to the table and earnestly work on things, not just show up on occasion and spend most of his time working the press. It’s called leadership, and he ain’t got it.

– John

There are too many reasons for this change

Article posted on June 28, 2009

There were the usual stories in the newspapers today about the budget, nothing that I haven’t heard. More speculation and complaining about the process, etc. One local paper had a story about the bill by Senator Bob Robbins to allow local governments to put their advertisements on their website instead of in the local paper. This proposal, if adopted, would save tens of millions of taxpayer dollars each year in Pennsylvania. Everybody that I know likes the idea and thinks that it is long overdue, except, of course the newspapers. Some of them are more concerned about making money than doing the right thing. As their subscriptions deteriorate into oblivion, internet usage skyrockets. More people each day get their info on line and get it for free. Public information in a newspaper costs each member of the public twice, once to place the ad and once again to purchase the paper to read it. And if you advertise on Wednesday and don’t see the paper until Thursday, the ad you’re interested in won’t be there unlike an internet ad that runs 24/7. There are too many reasons for this change to stop it, I hope.

– John

It’s good to get a meal at home

Article posted on June 27, 2009

After my men’s fellowship group this morning I did office work till lunch time then hit some yard work. The weather today was beautiful, mid-seventies and sunny. I finished the stone walkway that Johnny and I got nearly done last weekend. With the budget situation, I can’t count on when I’ll be home next so I really try to keep the grass mowed. I’m cooking fish on the grill tonight and Charlotte is making homemade mac and cheese. We also got some fresh tomatoes, our first this year. It’s good to get a meal at home.

– John

Who knows what next week will look like

Article posted on June 26, 2009

I went to Saxton this morning to see the Saxton VFW and the 4H club mail out 43 packages to soldiers in Iraq. These people raised enough money easily to stuff these packages and pay for the mailing. The Saxton area is having a particularly tough time at present. They really don’t have much going in their favor economically and yet the people from that area gave generously to the cause of helping the soldiers from back home in a far away place. That speaks volumes about these folks. I spent some time in the office today and got some things done in a day with not much on the schedule. We haven’t scheduled much since we don’t know what my session schedule will be during the budget process. I hope to get caught up with some work at home and the office this weekend. Who knows what next week will be like.

– John

I hope that he is held accountable for it

Article posted on June 25, 2009

We left Harrisburg today, one day short of our original schedule this week. Since there is no real progress on the budget, there is no need for the entire General Assembly to stay there, especially the Senate. Our leadership is ready for a meeting at any time and we will be on call when not in Harrisburg, from now until the budget is passed. I watched the Public Television show last evening featuring Joe Scarnati and the Governor. Joe gave a straight forward message of less spending and no new taxes. The Governor reiterated the scare tactics that he is famous for. I know that at least one statement he made last night, very emphatically I might add, will be proven false next week. He often says things that simply aren’t true, I hope that this time, he is held accountable for it.

– John

It will be interesting to see

Article posted on June 25, 2009

Another day in Harrisburg with no movement on the budget. We continued to work through other bills and had another lengthy caucus meeting. I did a few interviews today and worked on issues for constituents. Along with a few other Senators, I went to the Farm Show building late this afternoon to see 125 dogs that were taken from a kennel yesterday because of violations of the new dog law. There were about 17 breeds of both large and small dogs. The dogs generally didn’t look in bad shape. There were some minor health issues reported to us, but most of the dogs were healthy. Now, I didn’t see the conditions of the kennel, the people this afternoon told us that it was pretty bad. It will be interesting to see how this situation will be reported by the Ag Department and the media.

– John

It’s tough to get things done when the Governor is not at the table

Article posted on June 23, 2009

I had a full day today with a number of office appointments and a committee meeting that I attended because of a bill of mine that was on the agenda. We had a fairly lengthy session and caucus this afternoon. We are putting a number of bills through the process during this budget wait and see process. There really isn’t anything new to report on the budget. The same rumors are floating around and nothing has been offered from the House. The Governor still has not produced any more cuts and the Democrats don’t have the votes for a tax increase. The Governor is all over the state and in Washington D. C. regularly. Basically, he’s everywhere but here. It’s tough to get things done when the Governor is not at the table.

– John

This is an opportunity to change the direction of this Commonwealth

Article posted on June 22, 2009

I’m back in Harrisburg. We didn’t have much of a session today and no caucus so we didn’t learn anything officially about what is going on with the budget. The stories are all over the place about corporate taxes, gambling and other ideas to balance the budget. The Governor is still on his 16 to 17 percent Personal Income Tax increase and thinks that the Democrats can pull together the votes. From what I’ve heard, that isn’t going to happen, not even with all of the Democrats. We’ll learn more tomorrow, but if nothing breaks, there isn’t much going on otherwise since there is no budget bill from which to negotiate. We have to hold firm to kill any and all tax increase votes. This is an opportunity to change the direction of this Commonwealth from the tax and spend policies of the past.

– John

Happy Father’s Day

Article posted on June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day everyone. My son Johnny was home for the weekend and as we traditionally do, we worked together on a project around the house. We spent the entire day working on a stone walkway that I started along time ago. We got it just about finished after seven hours of pretty heavy work. The Sunday newspapers were full of budget stories including a oft mentioned rumor/theory of balancing the budget with the expansion of gambling to include table games. This would be a long shot, in my opinion, but you never can tell who might vote for something after some pressure is applied. For this theory to come to fruition, you would have to have the votes, and I’m not sure you would, and you would have to have a system that enables the state to get substantial money during the 2009/2010 budget year. It will be interesting to see what opposition this issue receives now that it is being made more public. Count me in as one of the opposition.

– John