I believe in a robust public education system. All of our students deserve quality, safe neighborhood schools where they will have the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop their talents and skills. A quality education opens many doors, provides opportunity for upward mobility and is important to the economic development of our communities.
Pennsylvania must meet its constitutional obligations by fully funding our schools and making the necessary changes to the funding formula in order to better serve underfunded school districts. Making these changes would improve the learning environment for our students and our teachers alike and it would lower property taxes by removing the heavy burden placed on our taxpayers. I am a product of strong public schools and I will fight for them as a state representative.
In our current economy, a high school diploma is often not enough to ensure long-term career success for young people and adults in our communities. Access to affordable higher education opportunities has never been more important, but many families are struggling with the burden of high tuition rates which prevents young people and adults from obtaining the skills they need to move into higher paying and more economically secure jobs. We can do better. As your state representative, I will support measures that open up opportunities for job training and affordable educational opportunities at all levels.
Our energy sector is going to continue growing. While we welcome new energy business to Pennsylvania, we must be sure to maintain transparency and the regulations needed to protect our air, water, and soil quality from dangerous pollution. We must work to achieve balance and not place corporate profits over people.
It is also important that we restore funding to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Currently, our regulators do not have the resources they need to enforce current laws that protect our environment from abuse and misuse.
Pennsylvania should strive to be a leader in alternative energy. The development, promotion, and use of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind would improve our environment, provide jobs for Pennsylvanians, and help strengthen our economy.
I believe that we need to move toward renewable energy sources for the long-term benefit to our society. However, as a society, we are not yet in a position to break our dependence on fossil fuels. This is why I strongly support a severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas drillers.
Pennsylvania is the only energy producing state that has not enacted a meaningful severance tax on the extraction of shale for the production of natural gas. A severance tax would bring in continuous annual revenue that would allow us to address the priorities of the residents of Pennsylvania and build a stronger more sustainable future for all of us.
The Delaware Loophole is a tax avoidance trick used by large corporations who do business in Pennsylvania, but who want to avoid paying taxes in Pennsylvania. This is how it works – large corporations incorporate in Delaware, claim all of their profits in Delaware and then avoid paying taxes here. This practice impacts our state budget and forces small businesses that operate here in Pennsylvania to pay higher taxes so the big guys can get a free ride. Pennsylvania should join other states who have done away with this loophole by implementing combined reporting.