Happy to see more people adopting that philosophy

Article posted on March 31, 2016

I had another day in the district, which typically includes office appointments and events or meetings outside of the office. I did get a little paperwork done, and helped with a nonprofit problem this afternoon. It was my impression as I attended a Blair Chamber event tonight and a Huntingdon Chamber event last night, that business people are anxious to see growth, not just for their own companies, but for the region. They are excited to hear about the Terrace Mountain Resort planned for Lake Raystown, even if they live in Blair County. They want to see good things come to Central PA, and understand that new growth would be an asset for everyone in the area to enjoy and benefit from. I have seen more of this spirit since the economy got worse nine years ago. Someone could get away with a selfish attitude before, but now it’s tougher to survive when the businesses around you aren’t prospering. I have been a long-time believer in a regional approach to economic development and am happy to see more people adopting that philosophy.


The truck turned over 399,000 miles today, better get your selection in soon!

Article posted on March 30, 2016

I did my every other Wednesday interview this morning on NewsTalk 103.7 in Chambersburg. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about issues for their audience in Franklin and Fulton counties. I got some office work done then headed to Harrisburg for a PA Fish and Boat Commission meeting. They celebrated their 150th anniversary at the meeting and are hosting a reception tonight, that I couldn’t stay for. I was there to speak about SB 1168, my bill to allow them to set their own license and various other fees. I also spoke briefly about Meadow Grounds Lake and thanked them for all of their help in getting the dam scheduled for restoration. I got back to the district in time for a legislative reception sponsored by the Huntingdon Chamber and an event in Altoona. By the way, the truck turned over 399,000 miles today, better get your selection in soon! CLICK HERE to participate.


We had a good group with lots of questions

Article posted on March 29, 2016

In this job, I have the privilege of meeting some very interesting people. I had office appointments today with two such individuals. They weren’t famous, just folks that work hard and try to do the right thing. They come to see people like me with ideas they have to improve life for others. Again, it’s a privilege. Tonight was my town hall in Orbisonia. We had a good group with lots of questions about things like: medical marijuana (long discussion), community library funding, state pension reform, property tax relief, the cost and time period involved in business development (including the permitting process, another long discussion), and various issues related to the budget. I appreciated everyone who made it out.



I’m still waiting for an editorial on that

Article posted on March 28, 2016

I spoke with several prominent people over the weekend who asked me how things were going with the budget, or bluntly asked, if we were ever going to have a budget. Once I explained where things stood, they seemed to have some vague recollection of what happened. The media didn’t give as much attention to this as I thought they would. After nine months of constant criticism, I didn’t see much past the first day’s news stories. So, if you missed reading the paper that day, you probably missed the story. They also were the victims of how they portrayed the budget process all along. They didn’t talk about the various components of the budget, and when pieces were passed; they didn’t get much, or any attention. The general appropriations bill is what most in the media consider to be “the budget.” So, when the final bills included the general appropriations, the non-preferreds, and the fiscal code, it got a little confusing. It also was unusual to have the Governor not sign or veto a bill, but to allow it to become law after 10 days on his desk. His announcement last week wasn’t a final act, it was a statement about what would happen because of his inaction. So, today we have the budget lines fully funded, but no fiscal code, which provides rules pertaining to how he spends those lines. This from a Governor who campaigned on transparency. I’m still waiting for an editorial on that.


The promise of eternal life for all who believe

Article posted on March 27, 2016

Happy Easter! We had a great sermon at church this morning and enjoyed time with family and friends this afternoon. We all went to my sister Gail and husband Mark’s home near Waterside, Bedford County. We had a traditional Easter ham dinner, which was outstanding. My son, Johnny, and brother, Todd, couldn’t be there and were missed. I hope everyone had time with family and friends, but most importantly, took time to thank God for sending his son to us and allowing him to be sacrificed for our sins. We celebrate his resurrection today and the promise of eternal life for all who believe.


See what it looks like after billions in new taxes are levied

Article posted on March 26, 2016

I read an article today about the rating agency, Moody’s, comments after our general appropriations bill was allowed to become law. They still aren’t happy with our financial picture. They see our state’s economy lagging, and point out that we didn’t pay enough for our pension obligations, and either didn’t raise taxes or cut spending; in fact, we increased spending. Before the media and the Governor twist one tenet of the comments, the tax increase, into the solution for our financial woes, let me explain that it is a solution only if we do not cut spending or at least slow spending to the point that our revenues substantially exceed our expenditures and the extra funds are used to fund pensions and/or retire debt. The fallacy of the Governor’s budget plans has been that although he wants to raise taxes to close the structural deficit, and that could work (although I would like to cut waste, fraud, and abuse first), he also would like to increase spending with an amount similar to the tax increase, therefore never getting ahead in the structural deficit cycle. He also doesn’t want to change the single biggest cost driver in state government, the pension system. If our annual pension costs continue to rise dramatically and other state programs expand by billions of dollars, even with huge tax increases we will fall further behind. And think of this, if our economic growth potential looks bad now, see what it looks like after billions in new taxes are levied.


The portrayal of this drug is far from reality

Article posted on March 25, 2016

One issue that was initially misunderstood earlier this week, was the passage in the House of the medical marijuana bill. This is a Senate bill that went to the House months ago and was amended before it was passed, which necessitated a trip back to the Senate for concurrence. The sponsor of the bill did not like some of the changes and will offer an amendment in the Senate. So, the initial reports indicating the bill was nearly finished after quick action anticipated by the Senate were not accurate. I have not heard that the situation is irreconcilable, but it will take at least weeks longer than expected. I didn’t support this bill and don’t understand how one substance could be a viable treatment for the long list of medical conditions in the legislation. Many health concerns were skipped over by the proponents, and some of the proponents, last week, were heard saying that “this is the first step,” meaning recreational use is next. The reports coming out of Colorado about recreational use should make everyone see that the portrayal of this drug bringing little or no problems with it is far from reality.


Please keep his family in your prayers

Article posted on March 24, 2016

I travelled to Hancock, MD this morning to attend the funeral for Danny Crouse, the Turnpike employee who was killed on Sunday morning by a gunman in a robbery attempt at the Fort Littleton toll plaza in Fulton County. Danny will be remembered by many for the circumstances of his death; for those of us who knew him, we’ll remember him as a family man who cared about his mother, wife, children, and siblings, as a Boy Scout leader, a school board member, and being very active in his church. Danny was the kind of guy who helped everyone in ways big and small. He was truly concerned about the people around him and did what was necessary to help, right up to and including the last moments of his life. Danny will be missed by many, please keep his family in your prayers.


Your good work saved jobs and contributed to the welfare of our Commonwealth

Article posted on March 23, 2016

Today at 1:00, the Governor announced his decision to allow the supplemental budget bill sent to him last Wednesday, to become law. He is not going to sign it, but he won’t veto it and by law, if he takes no action in 10 days, it automatically takes effect. He did say, however, that he will veto the Fiscal Code, which sets parameters on how he spends what has been allocated. The supplemental appropriations bill restored the cuts the Governor made by line item vetoes in December. He said last week that he would veto this bill and stood by that statement until today. His change of heart is a result of his conversations with General Assembly members of his own party. A growing group of them stated that they would not vote with him any longer and would support a veto override. He found himself in a box; he either accepted the budget, or vetoed it and had his veto overturned. This was a defeat for his agenda and a victory for the taxpayers. His record-breaking taxes that would have crippled the economy of Pennsylvania, never happened. He heard that message from the citizens he represents and eventually heard it from his own legislators. Thanks to everyone who helped with this battle, your good work saved jobs and contributed to the welfare of our Commonwealth.


Statements on Governor’s Budget Announcement

Article posted on March 23, 2016

HARRISBURG (March 23, 2016) – Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. (R-Blair) issued the following statements after Governor Wolf announced this afternoon he will neither sign nor veto the supplemental 2015-16 budget bill (HB1801) approved by the Legislature last week, and allow it to become law:

“I’m glad that the people most affected by the governor’s repeated vetoes can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they will finally receive the funding they need to finish the fiscal year. Schools in danger of closing will be able to stay open, critical access hospitals considering cuts to services and staff will be able to maintain their level of care, and programs facing elimination – such as Penn State Extension – will be able to continue assisting the agriculture community.”

“I hope the governor has learned a lesson from the painful mess that he caused and will not hold the people of Pennsylvania hostage again as we continue work on the 2016-17 budget.”


Please contact Patrick Schurr, Executive Assistant, at 1-866-509-3424 or email pschurr@pasen.gov for additional information.