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Saylor speaks at PHIA breakfast event

April 20, 2017 by · Comments Off on Saylor speaks at PHIA breakfast event
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SaylorPORT_250Republican House Appropriations Chair Stan Saylor spoke this week at a PHIA Policy Breakfast, briefing attendees on state budget deliberations and weighing in on the State Police funding issue.

Saylor’s mantra has been about the need to reshape state government, which he said would be a four or five-year process to realign programs and services and phase out activities that prevent the Commonwealth from living within its means.

On the State Police funding issue, he said his preference would be to require municipalities with a population of at least 10,000 to pay the full cost of state police protection if they have no local police protection. That cost has been estimated at around $230 per resident per year.

The event had been rescheduled because of the March snowstorm. The organization hopes to schedule two additional breakfast briefings before the end of June.

 

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‘Free’ police coverage has a high price tag

May 5, 2016 by · 1 Comment
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In the last few weeks, editorials and op-ed articles have appeared in newspapers around the state in reaction to the Associated Press story about “free” state police coverage.

pspThe AP noted that nearly half of Pennsylvania’s municipalities rely on the State Police for all of their police protection, and others for at least some coverage. Municipalities are able take advantage of this coverage at no additional cost.

This has increased the cost of operation for the State Police, without any additional revenue to pay for it. Residents of communities that have local police forces or participate in regional police coverage pay twice – for their local coverage, and for State Police coverage in municipalities that rely on State Police.

Gerald Cross, executive director of the Pennsylvania Economy League Central Division, commented about this problem with an op-ed article published in several newspapers. You can read the entire article here.

“Mandating that all 2,561 municipalities have their own police departments is unrealistic. One alternative is to require payment for state police services,” Cross wrote. “A more comprehensive and long-term, albeit more complicated, option is to create a mechanism for local government tax-base sharing to deliver all types of critical services more effectively on a regional level. One thing is clear: A wide-ranging discussion of how local governments in Pennsylvania provide services is long overdue.” Read more

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PHIA president Van Buren supports State Police funding study

February 9, 2016 by · Comments Off on PHIA president Van Buren supports State Police funding study
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HARRISBURG (Feb. 8, 2016) – The president of the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association today urged a legislative committee to request a study to determine the appropriate level of support for State Police operations with revenue from the state’s Motor License Fund.

VanBurenHearingPSPJames Van Buren, who also is president of PennStress, a precast concrete supplier, told the House Transportation Committee that an increasing amount of revenue intended for transportation system improvements has been diverted from the Motor License Fund to support the State Police and now totals $755 million, nearly two-thirds of the entire State Police budget.

Van Buren noted that under the Pennsylvania Constitution, revenue from the Motor License Fund may be used only for highway purposes. While that includes patrolling the highways, he said the amounts being diverted are far greater than the level of resources the agency devotes to highway patrols.

Click HERE to read more of the press release on the hearing.

 

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PennDOT Secretary Richards highlights need for more PennDOT funding

November 24, 2015 by · Comments Off on PennDOT Secretary Richards highlights need for more PennDOT funding
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STATEPOLICE (002)PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards held media availability recently to discuss PennDOT’s ongoing projects and needs. One of the more pressing needs she addressed was reliable federal funding.

“It helps us if we have a long-term bill and in the world of the federal government, six years is a long-term bill,” Secretary Richards said. “Of course it helps us if that long-term bill has predictable funding for all six years. It is really hard for us to plan if we don’t know that funding is predictable. That challenge of how much money we have and what needs to be done is something we deal with every day here at PennDOT.”

She also highlighted another issue that PHIA has been concerned about for some time: diverting money from Motor License Fund to help support State Police. The Motor License Fund is constitutionally protected fund for highway use.

“We are pleased that the Motor License Fund issue is on the secretary’s radar, and we look forward to working with the General Assembly to find a solution,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “Highway patrol is a highway use, but two thirds of the State Police budget is coming from the Motor License Fund, and it certainly does not appear that the agency devotes two thirds of its resources for that purpose.”