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Senator Scott Martin
In This Edition
Legislation Could Ease Burden on Volunteer Fire Companies
Under current law, volunteer fire companies must pay the state sales tax on food and beverages sold during fundraising events. These volunteer organizations face tremendous financial pressures, and I believe it is counterproductive for them to spend even more time and effort fundraising just to pay their tax bill.
Last month, I introduced a bill that would exempt volunteer fire companies from paying sales tax on food and drinks sold for fundraising events. The legislation would help ease some of the financial strain on these critical community organizations and ensure volunteers have access to the equipment and training they need to protect our communities.
More information about my bill is available here.
Proposal Would Lift Veil of Secrecy in Collective Bargaining Negotiations
Negotiations over salary and benefits for public-sector employees can have an enormous impact on government spending. However, in current practice, all of the negotiating takes place behind closed doors. The taxpayers who will be paying for these proposals essentially do not have a seat at the table.
In order to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding collective bargaining negotiations, Senator Ryan Aument and I have introduced two bills that would create accountability and transparency by opening up the negotiation process to public scrutiny. The Senate State Government Committee approved these bills earlier this year, and I am hopeful the full Senate will have a chance to vote on these measures in the near future.
More information about our bills is available here.
Senate Passes New Protections for Disabled Parking Space Access
Motorists who illegally park in spaces designated for persons with disabilities or block the access aisles adjoining these spaces can create a serious hardship for people who rely on ramps, wheelchair lifts and other equipment to maintain their mobility and independence. The Senate recently passed legislation I sponsored with Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty to strengthen enforcement of these parking spaces and access aisles.
Our bill would subject violators to towing, increased fines and other penalties that reflect the importance of maintaining these spaces for motorists who truly need them.
More information about our bill is available here.
Voters Support Property Tax Reform Measure
Voters in Lancaster County and other communities throughout Pennsylvania approved a ballot question in November that allows the General Assembly to pass a law authorizing individual municipalities to eliminate property tax through the existing Homestead Exemption. I believe this vote sent a clear message that Pennsylvanians are fed up with the current property tax system. It is far past time for lawmakers to consider better alternatives.
In the weeks and months to come, lawmakers will have an opportunity to change the way we fund our schools and local government services. I remain committed to eliminating property taxes for all homeowners and switching to a fairer method of taxation.
Capitol Turns Blue for Diabetes Awareness
Diabetes contributed to more than 3,700 deaths in Pennsylvania in 2014, and approximately 1.4 million new cases of the disease are diagnosed nationwide each year. I sponsored a resolution last month designating November 14 as World Diabetes Day in Pennsylvania. In honor of the event, the Capitol was lit in blue.
Residents Participate in a Telephone Town Hall
I am grateful to all of the local residents who shared their thoughts and opinions with me during my most recent telephone town hall in November. The hour-long town hall included discussion about some of the most important issues facing Pennsylvania and our local communities, including property taxes, pensions, education and energy policy.
If you missed out on the conversation, you can listen to the discussion on my website here. Stay tuned to my website to sign up for the next event.
For more information on issues of importance to Pennsylvania, please visit my website at senatorscottmartinpa.com.