By: David G. Greineder, IOM, Director of Government Affairs
Believe it or not, we are heading into the “spring session” of 2020. On March 16, the Legislature returns from a month-long break that allowed the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to hold public hearings on the Governor’s proposed budget. In the months ahead, the state budget will be negotiated, along with many other priority bills. ABC PA will be at the forefront, fighting to get our priorities added to that list.
On February 4, Governor Tom Wolf presented his sixth budget to the General Assembly. The $36.1 billion budget will fund the state from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, and it represents a 4.1 percent increase over last year. The increased spending is balanced largely through spending cuts to the prison system and reliance on a projected 4.5 percent increase in general revenues. Not surprisingly, the Governor is once again proposing to tax the Marcellus Shale, which ABC PA is on record as opposing.
On a positive note, the Governor continues to support workforce development programs, specifically, expanding opportunities to bring more apprentices into the trades. ABC PA looks forward to building upon the goals to improve workforce development, but most importantly, to help ensure the next generation of skilled workers are available to replace the anticipated retirement of 40 percent of the workforce over the next 10 years.
Since the New Year, ABC has been hard at work advancing our mission. In February, ABC Keystone held regional meetings to discuss ABC’s advocacy programming and forecast where Pennsylvania is heading this election cycle. If you would like to read the materials presented at those meetings, you can do so by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the budget break, all ABC PA chapters engaged elected officials in their district offices, educating them on House Bill 1746, which will bring fairness to the journeyperson-to-apprentice rules. For far too long, Pennsylvania has been operating under an unfair and discriminatory process which favors joint apprenticeship programs. We are amazed by the hard work and passion that bill sponsor – and ABC member – Representative Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland) has put into the bill. We are hopeful a vote will be scheduled in the House Labor & Industry Committee in the coming weeks so the legislative process can get underway without delay.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two advocacy events right around the corner. The first is ABC PA’s “Free Enterprise Day,” taking place in Harrisburg on April 7. This event is strategically timed around a potential apprenticeship vote so we can continue the momentum and expand our network of support. We are also in discussions with partner organizations to help assist in the push. Also coming up is our annual bus trip to Washington, D.C. during ABC National’s Legislative Week. This year’s bus trip event takes place on Wednesday, June 17. Training opportunities will be available before each of these two events to prepare you on policy issues and event logistics.
Don’t miss an opportunity to get involved! Register for these events, and if you are not signed-up to receive email alerts, please download the “ABC Action App” from the app store on your mobile device, or at abc.org/abcaction.
March 5, 2020