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State Senator Vincent Hughes: On the Issues
Senator Hughes An informational update for you! February 22, 2011

This publication is your opportunity to receive regular updates on the work and the issues that I have been involved with, both in Harrisburg and throughout our community.

Please visit my website, where you will find a comprehensive overview of our work, various phone numbers and contact information to assist you in solving problems, opportunities to volunteer and assist us in our programs and opportunities to give your feedback.

LEGISLATIVE ALERT!

Legislative leaders have stated their desire to pass this year's state budget by Memorial Day.

PA's 2011-2012 state budget, will be introduced by the Governor on Tuesday, March 8, 2011.

Although the state budget is supposed to be introduced by the governor on the first Tuesday of every February, a new incoming governor is provided a legislative courtesy of an extra 30 days to submit their budget request, largely to give the new administration time to familiarize itself of the details of the state's spending needs.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will begin their respective departmental hearings on the Governor's budget, within a week after the Governor presents his budget, and that process will take approximately three weeks to complete. The complication arises in the fact that the leader of the Senate, President Pro Tempe Scarnati, and House Majority Leader, Rep. Turzai, have indicated that they want to get the budget passed into law by Memorial Day, May 30, 2011, a full month earlier than the mandatory deadline of June 30.

PA is currently looking at a budget deficit that could approach $4.5 billion. Combined with a state unemployment rate of 8.6 percent, we are confronting unchartered territories with respect to a very large deficit and an extremely high unemployment rate. Many are worried that the compressed time schedule that has lost 30 days on the front end, and potentially 30 days on the back end, could force the General Assembly and the new administration to make some very bad decisions without full input from the public about the impact of those decisions.

Understand also, that the Governor has said that he will not seek any new taxes or fees to help balance the state budget. THIS CAN ONLY MEAN DRAMATIC CUTS TO CURRENT STATE SPENDING! If you have any concerns about the PA state budget, please pay close attention to the affairs of Harrisburg over the next several weeks. If it is your intention to reach out to your Senator or your Representative, do so immediately. If you wait, you may miss the opportunity to have your input taken into consideration, because you may be TOO LATE!

Below is a copy of the full schedule for the Senate Appropriations hearings. We expect that these hearings will be broadcast live over the internet. Please check my website for any announcements or updates about the state budget. Just go to www.senatorhughes.com.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011:
9:30am Governor’s Budget Office/Executive Offices and Office of the Governor
1:00pm Treasury Department
3:00pm Department of Labor and Industry

Thursday, March 17, 2011:
9:30am Department of General Services
1:00pm Public Utility Commission
3:00pm Insurance Department

Monday, March 21, 2011:
9:30am State Employees Retirement System/Public School Employees Retirement System
1:00pm Office of Attorney General
3:00pm Department of Military and Veteran Affairs

Tuesday, March 22, 2011:
9:30am Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
1:00pm Pennsylvania State Police
3:00pm Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Wednesday, March 23, 2011:
9:30am Department of Revenue
1:00pm Department of Health
3:00pm Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

Thursday, March 24, 2011:
9:30am Department of Environmental Protection
1:00pm Department of Transportation
3:00pm Department of Aging

Monday, March 28, 2011:
9:30am Office of Auditor General
1:00pm Judicial Department
3:00pm State Related Universities

Tuesday, March 29, 2001:
9:30am Department of Education
1:00pm Department of Corrections/Probation and Parole
3:00pm Department of Community and Economic Development/Pa Housing Finance Agency

Wednesday, March 30, 2011:
9:30am Department of Public Welfare
1:00pm Department of Agriculture
3:00pm Gaming Control Board

Thursday, March 31, 2011:
9:30am Department of State
10:30am Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security

Offices of State Senator Vincent Hughes

www.senatorhughes.com