Fighting for healthcare access for all
Representative Joe Ciresi voted to make prescription drugs more affordable for Pennsylvania seniors and families. He wrote the bill that made it easier for Pennsylvanians to get their prescriptions. And Joe will continue to fight for healthcare access for everyone in PA 146.
Restoring passenger train service
Joe Ciresi is committed to issues like making sure restoring passenger rail service between Pottstown and Philadelphia becomes a priority for the state.
Everyone who has driven along Route 422 during rush hour knows that our region has a major transportation problem. After rail service between Philadelphia and Pottstown ended in 1981, our region saw an explosion in population growth, putting a large strain on local roads and highways.
Our region provides a significant amount of revenue to the state in general income/sales taxes, transportation gas taxes, and Turnpike toll fees. For too long, that money has been diverted to fund projects in the rest of the state, with our region being neglected. Joe continues to fight to make sure that the 146th district and western Montgomery County has a strong and loud voice in Harrisburg, and that we get our fair share of funding for the state.
Passenger rail service would provide valuable relief to our infrastructure, taking thousands of cars off our highways and providing a regional link that would revitalize our boroughs and boost local economies.
Fair Funding for Education
Joe fights for a fair funding formula that would result in millions of dollars more to every local school district, reducing property taxes and improving educational outcomes for our children.
Pennsylvania is one of only three states without a state funding formula for education. As a school board member, Joe saw firsthand how the state underfunds school districts in western Montgomery County. No Montgomery County school district receives more than a third of its budget from the state, with Spring-Ford and Perkiomen Valley receiving less than 20% each. Meanwhile, the statewide average is 56% and some school districts in the rest of the state receive over 70% of their budgets from the state.
The underfunding of our schools unfairly raises property taxes in our district.
Property Tax Reform
Joe will continue to push for a combination of fair funding for education and reducing expenses through educational mandate reform to achieve meaningful tax relief for our property owners.
Pennsylvania has one of the highest property tax burdens in the country, and southeastern Pennsylvania stands out with the highest property taxes in the state simply because most of our school budgets come from local tax revenue instead of from the state, unlike school districts in western and northern Pennsylvania. As a homeowner, Joe understands this very real problem, and the burden that it places on homeowners, families, and seniors.
But as a school board member, Joe also saw areas in which we can save money in the education system. The overwhelming majority of school expenses are mandated by the state: for example, the state mandates 65% of Spring-Ford School District’s budget, but only provides 19% of its budget. These mandates are provided by a school code written in 1949, and some of them go back to the 1800s.
Joe uses his experience to work with education stakeholders in rewriting the school code, removing mandates that don’t provide any educational value, and passing along the savings to our taxpayers.
Joe has worked with members of both parties to restore common sense budgeting to Harrisburg.
As we saw with the recent 10-month budget impasse in Harrisburg, our state legislature has forgotten how to work together to get the job done. Joe understands the importance of passing an on-time and balanced budget every year, and he has worked with his fellow school board members — both Democrats and Republicans — to get this basic function of government accomplished. Together with his fellow board members, Joe reduced debt in the school district by $125 million and moved the school district into the top 2% in the state.
Only three states have lower credit ratings than Pennsylvania does now, and credit agencies are threatening further downgrades as Pennsylvania continues to fail the basic task of budgeting, as well as addressing structural deficits. Standard & Poor’s specifically cited the “lack of political will” to make budgeting decisions in its March 2016 warning to the state, and lower credit ratings mean higher interest rates and higher interest payments for Pennsylvania taxpayers.
Joe remains committed to reducing government inefficiency and waste, and find reasonable new sources of revenue through passing a natural gas severance tax and closing corporate tax loopholes.
Commonsense Gun Reforms
Joe supports basic measures to help reduce gun violence.
Across America, senseless deaths resulting from firearms are devastating communities. While Joe supports our Second Amendment right to bear arms, he believes these simple, common sense measures will reduce gun violence and help save the lives of our children:
- Expanding comprehensive background checks for all gun sales
- Joining neighboring states in passing an assault weapons ban
- Banning “bump stocks”
- Requiring reporting of lost or stolen firearms
- Ensuring that firearms at home are kept away from children
- Closing loopholes to keep guns away from domestic violence offenders
Joe Ciresi is committed to these issues and others that affect the communities he serves and he’ll continue to fight for them.
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