Welcome to another edition of Northeast Notes! I hope you are enjoying the summer. As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s birth on Independence Day, many of us will proudly display the American flag outside our homes. Old Glory deserves our respect, so be sure to follow the proper etiquette for displaying and handling the flag on the Fourth of July and every national holiday. The flag should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It can be displayed at night only if illuminated. When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously. When a flag is worn out, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner. American Legion Posts and many Boy Scout Troops and Girl Scout Troops often retire flags, so contact your local group to see if it offers this service. Click here for a complete list of flag etiquette guidelines.
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SENATOR MIKE STACK
State Budget Not Good Enough for People of PA
WATCH: Sen. Stack discusses the state budget during a June 29 Senate Democratic news conference.
Last weekend, the governor signed the 2012-13 state budget into law.
I voted against this spending plan because it hurts too many Pennsylvanians while giving generous tax breaks to foreign corporations.
If we are going to be giving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to Royal Dutch Shell and allow outsourcing of Pennsylvania jobs, we can do a lot better for our greatest resources — the citizens of Pennsylvania.
Instead, this budget makes harsh cuts to services that help our most vulnerable citizens. Mental health and homeless assistance budget cuts will result in more people living on the streets, less productive citizens, and more welfare spending.
Under the budget, Child Care Services funding to help low-income families afford daycare, work, and stay off the welfare rolls saw a $6.6 million cut. The Human Services Development Fund to give counties the ability to help those in need received a $1.5 million cut.
Basic education and higher education, which are still reeling from last year’s deep budget cuts, were level funded in the latest spending plan.
Honoring Courageous Officers
Sen. Stack participates in the unveiling of a mural at the Bustleton Bengals clubhouse in memory of Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Hayes, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1993 while investigating an occupied vehicle. Hayes’ partner, Officer John Maryonitz, who was injured during that shooting, was also honored. The senator met Officer Hayes’ wife Joanne and her grandson (left) and Officer Maryonitz and his family (right).
Apply for Homestead Property Tax Relief
The state legislature has approved legislation that provides for property tax relief for Philadelphia property owners. City homeowners may apply for a homestead exemption by July 31 to see if they qualify for future property tax relief.
The Homestead Exemption may reduce real estate tax bills after the impending property reassessment process is completed.
Applications are available online. My staff and I are also happy to assist you through the process so please contact us.
Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act
The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act should help the uninsured, working Pennsylvanians, gain health insurance coverage.
As state lawmakers continue to examine the entire decision to fully understand the implications for the state, we as a legislature should get to work soon to ensure that the impending provisions are implemented appropriately in Pennsylvania.
Healthy Pennsylvanians are productive, successful Pennsylvanians, and the law provides health protections as well as peace of mind. While the Supreme Court ruling is good news, it’s just the beginning of a long road ahead to examine its impact on Pennsylvania and to ensure that the health care law works here. I look forward to being a part of the process that helps implement the laws in the commonwealth.
I introduced legislation that would create the commonwealth’s health insurance exchange and put Pennsylvania consumers in a position to purchase health insurance through the exchange starting on Jan. 1, 2014.
Millions of Pennsylvanians benefit under the law, including 1.4 million uninsured Pennsylvanians; 2.1 million Pennsylvanians who have pre-existing medical conditions; and 4.5 million Pennsylvanians who have had lifetime limits on benefits removed.
Federal Funding Benefits Local Police Departments
The U.S. Justice Department announced funding for 220 cities and counties to pay for about 600 new law enforcement positions and save an additional 200 positions recently lost or in jeopardy of being cut under local budget cuts.
All new law enforcement positions funded in the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) 2012 Hiring Program must be filled by recent military veterans who have served at least 180 days since Sept. 11, 2001.
For the entire list of grantees and additional information about the 2012 COPS Hiring Program, visit the COPS website.
Offices of State
Senator Mike Stack
Office Hours: Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.