Sturla calls on Republicans to address structural deficit in ongoing budget negotiations

(Oct 07, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 7 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, said he voted today to eliminate the structural deficit and adequately fund education and human services. “Structural deficit spending has been going on for seven years now and it’s catching up with the state. Pennsylvania has received five credit downgrades in the past three years. The amendment that was defeated today would have addressed the deficit and went a long way in restoring the cuts to education and human services over the past administration’s tenure,” Sturla explained. Sturla said that while he is disappointed that the legislation did not pass, he pleased that legislators across the aisle are acknowledging the state’s fiscal problems. “It took 99 days for Republicans to finally acknowledge that there is a structural budget deficit. Moving forward, that information needs to be just as much a part of negotiations as adequately funding schools, human service and property tax relief for our most vulnerable citizens,” Sturla said. “It’s taken years for the poor fiscal management of years’ past to catch up with the state and result in credit downgrades. We need to act now to improve our finances because it will take years of sound decisions to climb out of the hole.” Sturla also noted that a modest personal income tax would keep Pennsylvania among the lowest personal income taxes in the nation. “The structural budget Read more


Sturla: We need a REAL budget

(Sep 24, 2015)

Pa. state Rep. Mike Sturla speaks out against a short-term stopgap budget that does nothing more than create another budget crisis for schools and non-profit social service agencies until October and urges the passage of a true compromise budget that delivers long-term, sustainable funding. Read more


Sturla calls on Republicans to end political gamesmanship and move a responsible Pa. Budget

(Aug 25, 2015)

HARRISBURG, August 25 – Two months past the June 30 state budget deadline, state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, called on Republicans to stop wasting time and negotiate a responsible budget for all Pennsylvanians. “Today’s political stunt was a waste of time and attempted overrides of a line-item budget that was vetoed by the governor. It’s a charade that makes it appear as though the same people that are responsible for the 10 percent cuts to human services are now looking out for our most vulnerable citizens. The bottom line is, today’s stunt won’t filter money to these organizations any faster and it won’t restore those cuts.” Sturla said Republicans should work on a budget that doesn’t contain accounting gimmicks and adjustments that result in structural deficits, and ultimately have led to five credit rating downgrades for the state over the last three years. “This is an unconstitutional process that is giving false hope to our local human service providers. I would implore my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to stop with the political gamesmanship and invest their time engaging in meaningful negotiations and concessions that move Pennsylvania forward, restore their cuts to education and human services and lift Pennsylvania from the bottom of the pack in job creation.” Read more


Sturla: Help Our Most Vulnerable

(Aug 24, 2015)

Pa. state Rep. Mike Sturla says it's time to restore the previous administration's disastrous cuts to human services programs. He says paying for programs now to help young children, the intellectually disabled, and seniors helps save money for future generations. Read more


Sturla to host fourth annual Back to School Giveaway Saturday, Aug. 22

(Jul 30, 2015)

LANCASTER, July 30 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will hold his fourth annual Back to School Giveaway from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22 at the Lancaster Recreation Center, 525 Fairview Ave. Sturla welcomes parents of students in kindergarten through fifth grade to stop by LancasterRec for a free backpack filled with school supplies to prepare children for their upcoming school year. Students must be in attendance to receive a backpack and accompanied by an adult. Backpacks will include: backpacks, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, boxes of crayons, rulers, child-safe scissors, spiral bound notebooks, two pocket folders and three-ring binders. Lunch will be provided and there will be activities for children including face painting, and music. Helpful information on state programs for children will also be available. Those interested in volunteering or making a donation of backpacks or school supplies to the event should contact Mena Rodriguez in Sturla’s Lancaster office at 717-295-3157 as soon as possible. Media coverage is invited. Read more


GOP Math Doesn't Work

(Jul 28, 2015)

Pa. state Rep. Mike Sturla joined other House Democrats in York to call for a responsible state budget leading to increased education funding and lower property taxes. They say Gov. Tom Wolf was right to veto the Republican budget, which was loaded with funding gimmicks and failed to address the state's $3 billion structural budget deficit, underfunded schools, and skyrocketing property taxes forcing Pennsylvanians out of their homes. Read more


Sturla: No More Budget Gimmicks

(Jul 27, 2015)

Pa. House Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, led a group of Montgomery County legislators in calling for Republican Leadership to work with Governor Wolf in crafting a state budget that serves Pennsylvanians rather than more of the same budgeting tricks and gimmicks of the prior administration they have proposed in their spending plan. Read more


Sturla, NEPA lawmakers call for good-faith negotiations to end budget stalemate, invest in education

(Jul 23, 2015)

SCRANTON, July 23— Following today’s news conference with Northeastern Pennsylvania legislators, House Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, released the following statement urging Republicans in the General Assembly to make progress toward a better Pennsylvania: “I stand with Governor Tom Wolf and House Democrats in fighting for a budget that puts Pennsylvania’s children first and says goodbye to the budgeting gimmicks of the past. We cannot continue down the same path that Republicans and former Governor Tom Corbett followed over the past four years, which led to multiple credit downgrades, higher local property taxes, declining test scores, a decline from seventh to 50 th in job creation and a built-in $1.5 billion structural deficit. The proposal Governor Tom Wolf vetoed would have bumped the deficit up to an estimated $3 billion by using one-time funding gimmicks and ‘adjustments’. They even shorted Social Security reimbursement payments to school districts. We need to put an end to the practices that have resulted in multiple credit downgrades and skyrocketing local taxes. “Pennsylvanians made it clear that they valued education as a top priority and want a reasonable Marcellus Shale severance tax to fund our schools when they elected Governor Wolf. Republicans said they wanted property tax relief and even passed a bill in the House – all while railing against Governor Wolf’s proposal, Read more


Sturla: Fund Our Schools

(Jul 23, 2015)

Pa. state Rep. Mike Sturla says for too long Pennsylvania has been shortchanging students and tax payers and that Governor Wolf's budget restores the Corbett cuts, improves our kids future, and give homeowner long overdue relief. Read more


Sturla, Senator Smucker to hold Thaddeus Stevens Bridge plaque dedication on July 3

(Jun 29, 2015)

LANCASTER, June 29 – In their continued efforts to recognize one of Lancaster’s most notable historical figures, state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, along with state Senator Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, will host a dedication ceremony for the Thaddeus Stevens plaque on the former PA 501 Bridge now known as the Thaddeus Stevens Bridge. The dedication will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, July 3 on the former Lititz Pike, PA 501 Bridge. Thaddeus Stevens Society President Russ Hetrick will also be in attendance and offer dedication remarks. The plaque is located on the bridge along the sidewalk of the southbound roadway. Parking is available at the corner of McGovern Ave. and N. Duke St., immediately adjacent to the intersection where the ceremony will take place. For additional information, contact Sturla’s Lancaster office at 717-295-3157. Media coverage is invited. Read more


Sturla: GOP Budget Fails for Pa.

(Jun 28, 2015)

Pa. state Rep. Mike Sturla decries the GOP-proposed state budget that keeps the status quo of the last four years and does not provide for what Pennsylvanians want and deserve. Sturla serves as the elected Chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. Read more


Sturla says 2015-16 budget perpetuates mistakes of years past

(Jun 27, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, said he voted against a Republican spending plan that fails to restore education funding, address the structural deficit or bring any property tax relief to Pennsylvania homeowners. “For the past four years, Republicans who controlled the legislature in both the House and Senate, along with a Republican governor, passed one irresponsible budget after another. Four years of mismanagement eliminated 20,000 teachers and school staff resulting in larger class sizes, declining test scores and skyrocketing local property taxes. It caused the Commonwealth credit rating to be downgraded multiple times and allowed the Commonwealth to drop from seventh in job creation to 50 th . We cannot afford another year of the same irresponsible policies that have placed the state in its current fiscal predicament and that’s what this budget proposal does,” Sturla said. Sturla said the plan over-projects future revenues and relies on one-time revenue sources and accounting gimmicks, guaranteeing a built-in structural deficit for next year. “This is another budget that runs the state into the ground. It puts off Social Security payments as an accounting gimmick to ring in a ‘balanced’ budget. Pennsylvania families can’t fudge the numbers to balance their budget and there are serious ramifications for putting off paying the Commonwealth’s obligations. The numbers tell the story and Read more


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