As a new year begins, one should remain optimistic about all aspects of life, including our state government in Harrisburg. Resolutions for 2016 – whether they pertain to our health, career, relationships, or public policy – are a good place to start.
If elected to state representative next November in the 146th District, I, Joe Ciresi, resolve to do the following:
* Decline my paycheck each month if the budget is not passed on time. The annual spending plan is arguably the central responsibility of General Assembly members. My opponent, Rep Tom Quigley, failed to meet that duty for six months. But he continued to collect his monthly salary while schools and social service agencies faced drastic decisions. State senators John Rafferty, Andy Dinniman and Judy Schwank told The Mercury news that they would forgo their paycheck, but Quigley made no such promise. I would.
* Fight to pass a budget on time. Granted, no single member of the Legislature can control timely passage; however, this pledge ties into my next resolution.
* Work in a bipartisan manner. As past president and current vice president of the Spring-Ford Area School Board, I worked in a constructive manner to achieve lasting results. By working together, we moved our district into the top 2 percent in Pennsylvania and reduced debt by $125 million.
Achieve real property tax reform and help keep seniors in their homes. We need a fair system based on districts’ needs so that seniors, the disabled and working families are not burdened with property taxes.
* Fight for the restoration of SEPTA rail service between Reading and King of Prussia. I will work hard to secure federal grants and our fair share of Pennsylvania transportation dollars (not tolls) to make this project a reality. Anyone who has driven on Route 422 during rush-hour knows the frustration of gridlock and delays. This issue is vital not only to the local workforce but to efforts nationwide to reduce carbon emissions. We need a renewed commitment to getting this project off the ground.