from last Friday's inbox:
May 6, 2011
Since my last report, government at all levels continues to face a number of challenges. The resurgent right wing in American politics is not getting it right. Progressive principles of social liberalism and fiscal responsibility are needed as never before to resolve these problems and improve the quality of life for all.
My focus as county commissioner continues in three areas: economic development, transportation funding and open space preservation. County staff is working hard to coordinate our investments in these programs to leverage our dollars, attract private investment and jump start economic activity.
In addition to the 600 jobs saved and created in our county seat by our investment in the newly-renamed Norristown Center, we are starting a micro grant program aimed at smaller businesses. We need more investment in our older communities and downtowns, and more jobs throughout the county.
We are re-directing open space dollars to focus on development of the Schuylkill River Greenway. With limited public dollars, we can improve access to the Valley Forge Trail by the river, connect more public land along the river, encourage small retail operations to supply services and equipment to trail users, and improve public use and enjoyment of the Schuylkill. People love rivers. Provide good access and amenities and the people will come.
I am working hard at the county and as chair of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to secure funding for two critical transportation projects, improving Rt. 422 and expanding commuter train service in the 422 corridor, and building a new turnpike interchange for Norristown. Governor Corbett has appointed a transportation funding commission to recommend ways to increase revenue, which could include registration increases, user fees, new tolls and public-private partnerships. You get what you pay for in this life, and Pennsylvania needs more investment in our roads, bridges and public transportation. Stay tuned for more developments when the commission makes its recommendations to the governor by August 1.
In the last few months as the GOP and the Tea Party have been flexing their muscles, the Republicans seems to have lost their collective minds. Lurching wildly to the right wing, they want to privatize Medicare and block grant Medicaid. They want to cut the top income tax rates for individuals and for corporations from 35% to 25%. Governor Corbett took $800,000 in campaign donations from the gas companies last year and won't tax them this year. The Governor wants to cut public schools 10% and start private school vouchers with public dollars. He wants to cut higher education 50% and urges state colleges to make up the difference by drilling gas wells on campus.
Progressives need to fight back. The voters don't like policies from the political extremes. We need to press the fight for socially liberal and fiscally responsible solutions to our mutual challenges. I will keep sending my ideas and proposals if you are willing to keep reading them. Please let me hear from you.
And to all you wonderful mothers, from all the people who love you, Happy Mother's Day!