Sturla votes against long delays on municipal pension relief

(Jun 27, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, voted Friday against H.R. 212 that would create a taskforce to study municipal pension reform citing the measure is redundant. Sturla met with Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, chairman of Gov. Tom Wolf’s Task Force on Municipal Pensions, earlier this week to discuss the group’s progress on municipal pension reform. “The administration has already devoted time and resources to address municipal pension issues and I believe we should give the task force the opportunity to deliver their report to the governor,” Sturla explained. Established by Wolf in May, the task force is scheduled to deliver its report to the governor on Tuesday. “The Republicans rushed an ill-conceived municipal pension bill through committee and called on Democrats and the governor to act. Now that we have gathered accurate information on the issue through the efforts of the auditor general, we don’t need to waste time and effort and spend more taxpayer dollars to study the study,” Sturla said. “We can save time and make strides in addressing municipal pension relief.” House Resolution 212 passed the House and is now awaiting Senate consideration. Read more


Basic Education Funding Commission releases new funding formula, recommendations

(Jun 18, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 18 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, said a proposed new bipartisan funding formula that he helped to create as a member of the Basic Education Funding Commission is a step forward in the process to equitably fund education in Pennsylvania. “The first order of business should be for Pennsylvania to restore the deep basic education cuts that were made under former Governor Tom Corbett and then begin the process set forward in this new funding formula to bring equity, accountability, transparency and predictability to the process,” said Sturla, Democratic Policy Committee chairman. “The recommended Basic Education Funding Formula is a direct result of a bipartisan commitment to invest in one of Pennsylvania’s most valuable asset, our kids. Thanks to the commission members' hard work, cooperation and willingness to compromise, the formula will serve all students into the future. The formula, unanimously approved by the commission today, provides schools with an equitable distribution of state funding that coupled with additional funding should meet the needs to educate students in all districts. ”Because cuts made by the previous administration were not done in a formulaic method, it would be nearly impossible to restore that funding through a formula,” Sturla said. “That is why it is important that we first adopt Governor Tom Wolf’s $400 million school funding restoration and help students in Read more


Sturla: Education Funding Report a Start

(Jun 18, 2015)

Pa. state Rep. Mike Sturla talks about the findings from the Basic Education Funding Commission report released this morning. Sturla feels that public education can't improve until funding cuts are restored and a formula for funding schools is created. Read more


How Gov. Tom Wolf's Proposed 2015-16 Budget Would Impact the 96th Legislative District

(Jun 10, 2015)

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has provided the following breakdown on how Gov. Wolf's innovative budget plan will move our community forward. Read more


Defined benefit pensions aren’t the problem

(Jun 08, 2015)

In 2010, the legislature and governor faced rapidly rising employer pension contribution rates often referred to as the rate spike. In response, an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of the House and Senate Approved Act 120 which was widely viewed as a responsible pension reform solution that served as a roadmap to dealing with the crisis. Read more


Gas industry should pay fair share in Pa.

(Jun 04, 2015)

The natural gas industry’s drilling of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale provides economic benefits to the state including job opportunities and a reliable domestic energy source. That has been true in every state where the industry exists. A recent study by the American Petroleum Institute stated that the natural gas industry is responsible for $34.7 billion to the state economy and Pennsylvania’s shale gas production has increased exponentially over the past few years. Yet Pennsylvania is the only major gas producing state that does not charge a severance tax. Read more


Retirement security to be focus of Democratic Policy Committee hearing Thursday in Harrisburg

(Jun 02, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 2 – House Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that the committee will hold a public hearing about a national perspective of retirement security from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 4 in the House Minority Caucus Room, 418 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg. State Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Allegheny, Democratic chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, will co-chair the hearing as attendees hear from national experts on pension changes, income inequalities and retirement security. The current hearing agenda is: 1:30 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 1:40 p.m. Diane Oakley, executive director, National Institute on Retirement Security 2:10 p.m. Hank Kim, executive director and counsel, National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems 2:30 p.m. Cathie Eitelberg, senior vice president and national public sector market director, The Segal Group 2:50 p.m. Leigh Snell, director of federal relations, National Council on Teacher Retirement 3:10 p.m. Monique Morrissey, economist, Economic Policy Institute 3:30 p.m. Closing Remarks The hearing is open to the public and media coverage is invited. Read more


Comcast Newsmakers: Structural Deficit and Education Funding in PA State Budget

(May 07, 2015)

State Representative Mike Sturla discusses the need to increase revenue to address Pennsylvania's structural deficit in the current budget and education funding. Read more


Spring 2015 Newsletter

(May 06, 2015)

State Representative P. Michael Sturla's Spring 2015 Report to the 96th. Inside: Policy Committee update, upcoming events and more. Read more


PCN Call-In Program, PA Budget

(May 04, 2015)

With the June 30th state budget deadline less than two months away, negotiations between legislative leaders and the Administration are expected to become more frequent. Rep. Mike Sturla (D- Lancaster) and Rep. Stephen Bloom (R- Cumberland) join us to talk about the PA Budget. Topics include state pensions, property tax, and Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed tax shifts. Read more


Policy Committee discusses pre-K funding in Wilkinsburg

(Apr 29, 2015)

WILKINSBURG, April 29 – State Rep. Ed Gainey and the House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from several local education officials about the status of pre-K funding in Pennsylvania during a public hearing at Hosanna House. Gainey requested the hearing and served as co-chairman with HDPC Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. "Every child deserves a quality education regardless of where they live, and it’s vitally important that we reach these students at an early age," said Gainey, D-Allegheny. "Representative Gainey realizes that an investment in early childhood education is an investment in Pennsylvania’s future. Today’s panelists made it clear that a quality start to education will give Pennsylvania’s children the best chance at a successful future," Sturla said. Testifiers expressed overwhelming support for Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal to increase funding for early childhood education by $120 million in the 2015-16 state budget. Following questioning from Sturla, Michelle Figlar, executive director of Pittsburgh Association for the Education of the Young Child, agreed that the investment would still fall short of providing for all families and noted that an additional 100,000 children would be left unserved. Figlar estimates that a $120 million annual increase over the next five years would allow early childhood educators to reach all Pennsylvania children. State Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Allegheny, Read more


Policy Committee hearing in Scranton discusses education funding

(Apr 08, 2015)

SCRANTON, April 8 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing with committee chairman Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, to discuss the issue of public education funding. The hearing, held in Scranton High School, focused on how local districts have been impacted by decreased state funding over the last few years, and what Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed budget will mean for them. ”When it comes to our children's education, it is important that we make sure our school districts have the tools to help our children succeed," Flynn said. "Today's hearing was a way for us to learn how districts have struggled to continue to do that in the wake of the Corbett administration's decreases in state funding for education.” Flynn added, “Governor Wolf’s ‘Jobs that Pay, Schools that Teach, and Government that Works’ initiative is one to improve an entire society. By ensuring Pennsylvanians have access to fundamental resources like a good education and well-paying jobs, he’s making it possible for our citizens to better provide for themselves and their families and achieve the American dream.” Echoing that sentiment, Sturla said, "The testimony we heard today here in Representative Flynn's district was not unique in that a majority of school districts across the state have been faced with difficult decisions because of the previous Read more


Raise the wage, boost the economy

(Apr 02, 2015)

An increase in the state's minimum wage would lift many low-wage workers out of poverty and provide a boost to local economies. Rep. Sturla co-hosted a recent House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on the issue. Read more


Harkins, Policy Committee examine commonwealth’s commitment to education funding

(Mar 23, 2015)

Requested by state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, the House Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing today on Gov. Tom Wolf’s education funding proposal to collect input from local school superintendents and a fair education funding advocate. “House Democrats and I believe the key to a better future starts with a solid education that requires a stronger investment from the state,” Harkins said. “Hearing the testimonies of our local superintendents brings the need for, not only more funding, but also a fair funding formula into clear focus.” Read more


McCarter, House Democratic Policy Committee explore pre-K funding in Pa.

(Mar 10, 2015)

State Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, hosted the House Democratic Policy Committee today at Curtis Hall to discuss the value of pre-K education funding and how to ensure it’s properly funded in Pennsylvania. Read more


Dawkins, HDPC discuss education funding

(Mar 09, 2015)

PHILADELPHIA, March 9 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., served as co-chairman of today’s House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on education funding in Philadelphia. Dawkins requested the hearing, citing the need for a fair education funding formula that would give students in urban districts an equal opportunity at a quality education in Pennsylvania. "As a new legislator, the oath of office is fresh in my mind," Dawkins said. "We have a constitutional obligation to provide a quality education to all Pennsylvania children. We need to do everything in our power to uphold that commitment, regardless of where students live." Those testifying at the hearing included: Pedro Rivera, acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education; Philadelphia City Council members Maria Quinones-Sanchez, 7th District, and Jannie Blackwell, 3rd District; Isaiah Thomas, associate dean of students at Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School; Helen Gym, co-founder, Parents United for Public Education; Nelson Diaz, partner at Dilworth Paxson LLP; Brett Schaeffer, communications director and policy analyst at the Education Law Center; Dr. Joan Duvall-Flynn, Education Committee chair of the PA State Conference of NAACP Branches; and Bishop Dwayne Rouster, executive director of Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower & Rebuild (POWER). Dawkins said each panelist contributed a meaningful perspective on the commonwealth’s need Read more


Sturla: Wolf budget a great start

(Mar 03, 2015)

Pa. state Rep. Mike Sturla said the 2015-16 budget proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf signals a return to responsible leadership in the governor's office and a willingness to move Pennsylvania forward and rebuild its middle class. Read more


Sturla commends Wolf on bold plan for citizens of Pa.

(Mar 03, 2015)

HARRISBURG, March 3 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, today released this statement on Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed 2015-16 state budget following his address to the General Assembly: "I commend Governor Wolf for proposing a bold budget that would finally resolve our Commonwealth’s structural deficit instead of continuing to kick the can down the road with budget gimmicks. "The governor’s budget looks out for the citizens of Pennsylvania, not the special interests of Pennsylvania. Those criticizing his plan are looking out for those special interests by trying to defend the status quo of unsound budgets. Pennsylvanians elected a new governor because they want a fresh start, not more of the same. "I believe Governor Wolf’s plan will deliver property tax relief, effective investments in education, increased economic development, and meaningful pension reform that puts Pennsylvania back on the right fiscal path and benefits the citizens of Pennsylvania." Read more


Free assistance with Pa. Property Tax/Rent Rebate application available in Sturla’s office

(Feb 10, 2015)

LANCASTER, Feb. 10 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, today reminded constituents to stop by his Lancaster office for free help in completing an application for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, which has a June 30 deadline. “Instead of going to a company that charges a fee to help fill out a Property Tax/Rent Rebate application, my constituents can contact my office to get the free assistance they deserve for this important state program,” Sturla said. “While the deadline typically is extended from June until December, there is no need to wait to apply.” The state’s rebate program benefits eligible residents 65 or older; widows and widowers 50 or older; and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit for eligibility is $35,000 a year for homeowners or $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975. The program is supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery and from slots gaming revenue. Sturla also said seniors across the state in past years were targeted and sent a mailing with a California postmark from the “Senior Advisory Center” offering assistance for $39; however, his office can help those eligible to apply for free. Residents in the 96th District (all of Lancaster city and parts of Manheim and Lancaster townships) interested in more Read more