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Spring 2009

Dear Neighbor,
Even though the new legislative session started a couple of months ago, it is already turning out to be one of the more challenging ones I have witnessed in Harrisburg. Aside from duties in the district, I’m also continuing my service on the House Appropriations Committee. During February and March, we heard testimony offered on the governor’s $29 billion budget proposal. In these tough economic times, we know that many, many families are struggling, and even more families and individuals are fearful of what their future may hold. This situation has been at the forefront of our budget hearings and discussions. Members of the House Republican Appropriation Committee are unified on the need to curtail state spending, and our caucus has taken that challenge very seriously by reducing our expenses 10 percent in each of the last three budgets, and we have plans to cut our costs even more. Unfortunately, our priorities for next year’s budget are not quite meshing with those of the administration, and I foresee a very interesting budget approval process in the coming months. Also on the financial front, I’m including a survey in this newsletter with which to gauge your opinions on some different options for potential state revenue streams, as well as ideas on a proposed property tax shift. I look forward to hearing your reply. If you should ever need assistance with a state-related problem or issue, please do not hesitate to contact any of my offices. Complete contact information is on the last page of this newsletter. We’re here to help. With regards and respect,

Track the Federal Stimulus in PA
You cannot turn on the television news or read an article in the newspaper these days without hearing about the federal stimulus plan and what it means in Pennsylvania. Known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, its intent is to jumpstart the economy and get people working again. While the new law was very controversial in getting passed, it’s now a reality, and I hope this money can be spent in a way that will be beneficial to all. After all, it is YOUR money. As of this writing, Pennsylvania is expecting to receive upward of $16 billion in federal stimulus money for a wide range of projects –from transportation and infrastructure to health care and education to helping those who have been affected by the struggling economy. Many of the details of funding are still being worked out, and there continues to be a lot of questions as the money is being committed and received. To ensure that the public is well informed of where their money is going, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has posted aWeb site at Recovery.PA.gov that is your link to the stimulus. On this site, you can read the basics of the stimulus, review a presentation given to the Legislature, read the full text of the new law, learn about grant opportunities, link to federal agency recovery sites, and find out where your money is going on a nationwide scale. You can access the stimulus information online through my Web site at RepMillard.com.
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Are you or a loved one age 60 or over? Mark Rep. Millard’s annual

Senior Expo
on your calendar

Wednesday, Aug. 5 at the Espy Fire Hall

More details will be forthcoming.

David Millard State Representative for the 109th Legislative District

Take the State Funding Survey on pg. 3

State to Track Consumer Complaints for Shoddy Home Improvement Projects
As of July 1, all contractors doing more than $5,000 of home improvement work annually must be registered with the state. In an effort to provide residents with better information when choosing a contractor, details of the contactors’ registration will be placed on contracts, promotional materials and business cards so that consumers may use the information to reference a statewide database of complaints. Every year, thousands of Pennsylvanians file consumer complaints about home improvement contractors who take money and fail to perform satisfactory construction or repairs. These complaints typically increase during the spring, when homeowners are more likely to hire contractors to perform various projects. There are several things consumers should look out for to protect themselves from disreputable or fraudulent home improvement contractors. Unsolicited, traveling contractors who come to a home and point out specific problems should be met with caution. If they arrive in an unmarked truck or van and refuse to provide proof of insurance or references, it is safe to say they are not reputable contractors. Frequently, these scams begin with a claim to have just finished a job, and then offer a great deal on leftover material. They also employ high-pressure sales tactics like limitedtime offers. When hiring a contractor, homeowners should obtain a written contract that includes a start and finish date and a three-day right-to-cancel notice. Penalty clauses for late completion have also proven helpful in ensuring timely projects. Individuals should never sign a blank contract or hire a contractor who does not have a business card or local phone number and address. Also, final payments should be withheld until work is finished and homeowners are completely satisfied. More information on the registration program and the complaints database is expected to be available in the near future as the attorney general’s office continues with the program’s implementation. For more information on consumer protection, or to file a complaint with the attorney general’s office, visit my Web site at RepMillard.com.

Rep. David Millard chats with a constituent after his recent Identity Theft Prevention Seminar in Benton.

Rep. David Millard joins local officials at the former Starr Tire Pile site in Greenwood Township while the last of more than 6 million scrap tires were removed from the site a few months ago. With Millard are (from left) Greenwood Township supervisors John Beck Jr. and Jon Rider, Eric Hottenstein and Patrick Brennan with the state Department of Environmental Protection, and Craig Detweiler with Entech, a tire removal company. This massive project was completed in late 2008 and effectively removed a huge environmental and safety hazard from the area.

Hybrid Vehicle Rebates Now Available
Pennsylvanians who purchase new hybrid vehicles may be eligible for a $500 rebate from the Commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is directing the program, which offers rebates on a “first-come, first-served” basis as long as funding is available. If you have purchased a hybrid vehicle in the past six months or are in the market for one, this rebate program could offer you valuable savings. A hybrid is defined by the (DEP) as a motor vehicle that draws its propulsion energy from an onboard source of stored energy that is both:  An internal combustion engine using combustible fuel.  A rechargeable energy storage system. While flexible fuel and diesel fuel vehicles are not eligible, DEP maintains a list of specific vehicles whose owners can collect the rebate. These vehicles must be classified as a hybrid, and must have a combined Environmental Protection Agency city and highway MPG (miles per gallon) rating of more than 55 MPG. Additionally, the vehicle cannot emit more than seven tons per year of carbon dioxide. Rebates are offered on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is no longer available. Applicants must have purchased or leased the vehicle new and include a completed rebate form, a copy of a valid Pennsylvania vehicle registration, a copy of the invoice and proof of purchase. Rebate checks typically take between 10 and 14 weeks to process. For a full listing of eligible vehicles or for more information about the rebate application process, visit RepMillard.com and click on “Hybrid Tax Credit.”

Get th e l a t e s t n e w s o n m y

Tell Me What You Think About State Funding Options
As we are all well aware, Pennsylvania, like every other state, has been drastically affected by the economic downturn that has gripped the nation. Revenues are down and all attention is keenly focused on the state budget as we face a multi-billion dollar deficit. I am interested in gauging your support for three separate options for state revenue generation. Note: the property tax legislation and video poker have defined uses for the revenue in current legislation. The table games proposal does not yet have a defined use for revenue. School Property Tax Elimination Act The School Property Tax Elimination Act phases out school property and nuisance taxes over a four-year time frame. The plan would replace the lost revenue with a blend of state taxes including an expanded state sales tax to include most tangible personal property and services, an increased state realty transfer tax (1.0 percent to 1.5 percent), and an increased state personal income tax (3.07 percent to 3.62 percent). Note: this has not yet been reintroduced in the Legislature for the 2009-10 session, so details are based on the proposal from the 200708 session. Some specifics on the way this legislation would expand taxes:  Extends the current Sales and Use Tax (6 percent) to most tangible personal property, as well as various services.  Food and clothing (currently exempt) would be taxed at 3 percent. Items that would remain exempt from taxes:  Prescription drugs.  Medical supplies and goods and other specified medical items. All other, non-exempted, services will be taxable.  Services provided by doctors, hospitals and dentists.  Fresh meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and juices.  Milk and milk substitutes, bread, cheese and eggs.  WIC and items purchased in connection with the Food Stamp Act.  The retail sale of insurance premiums, investments or gains on investments, such as bank deposits, stocks and bonds, tuitions, and the rental of rental property.  The sale to or use by businesses of legal services, accounting services, auditing services and bookkeeping services, engineering services, research and computer services and data processing. Video Poker The Rendell administration announced in February that it wants to legalize video poker machines at restaurants, private clubs and corner bars to help Pennsylvania students pay for college. Under the proposal, the state Department of Revenue would regulate the industry - requiring establishments to apply for a license for the poker machines - and oversee the taxes on poker profits. According to the governor’s announcement, the plan is to use the proceeds from licensing and taxing the video poker machines for tuition relief. That relief would be made available for families earning up to $100,000 a year who have students attending any of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges or the 14 public universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Supporters praised the move as a way to capture untold dollars being paid out annually in the vast underground economy of illegal video poker, while gambling opponents say they fear the social costs would be high. Gov. Rendell’s proposal to legalize video poker machines in Pennsylvania has garnered attention on a number of fronts – the most notable centers on the administration’s claim that the move would not be an expansion of gaming. If in fact it is determined that legalizing video poker is an expansion of the state’s current gaming industry, then many question whether it would prompt the state’s current casino license holders to file suit in an effort to recover their $50 million license fee. Current law states that any expansion of gaming could result in a full or partial return of this fee. Specifically, it would need to be determined if a video poker machine is a “slot machine” under the existing law. Table Games Casino owners are pressing state leaders to OK table games such as poker, blackjack and craps. Rep. Bill DeWeese (D-Greene) wants to legalize table games like blackjack and roulette. He says the move would bring in an additional $400 million to the cash-strapped Commonwealth. With three of the state’s 14 casino licenses still unawarded, and construction of two casinos in Philadelphia bogged down in local disputes, Rendell believes this isn’t the time to legalize table games. There is no official legislation in place to define the distribution of potential funding raised through table games yet this legislative session.

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Now that you have a few details on these proposals, tell me what you think about these three options. Fill in this survey and mail it to my office, or save a stamp and share your thoughts on my online survey, posted at RepMillard.com. School Property Tax Relief Act  Support  Don’t Support  Undecided Video Poker  Support  Don’t Support  Undecided Table Games  Support  Don’t Support  Undecided

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Please cut out and mail to: Rep. David Millard, 605 West Main St., Bloomsburg, PA 17815. Or fill out online at RepMillard.com. Thank you!

We b site: RepMi l l a rd . c o m

Rep. David Millard
904B Orange Street Berwick, PA 18603 Phone: (570) 759-8734

BERWICK OFFICE

BLOOMSBURG OFFICE
605 W. Main Street Bloomsburg, PA 17815 Phone: (570) 387-0246

402-B Irvis Office Bldg., P.O. Box 202109 Harrisburg, PA 17120-2109 Phone: (717) 783-1102

CAPITOL OFFICE

E-mail: Dmillard@pahousegop.com

Rep. David Millard was recently honored by House GOP Whip Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) for having perfect attendance for every House session day in the 2007-08 legislative session. Fewer than 40 percent of the House GOP caucus achieved this accomplishment.

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Tune into WHLM on the last Thursday morning of each month to hear Rep. David Millard’s legislative update program. He’s typically on the air starting at 8:15 a.m.*
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On the Web at RepMillard.com Serving the People of the 109th Legislative District

David Millard

State Representative

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