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STATE REPRESENTATIVE PRSRT STD

U.S. POSTAGE
Martin Causer PAID
HARRISBURG, PA
67th Legislative District PERMIT NO. 529

PO Box 202067
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2067

Governor’s Proposed State Spending Causer to Chair


Hikes Irresponsible Environment,
While the state and the nation continue to face challenging economic times, Governor
Ed Rendell has proposed a 2009-2010 state budget that INCREASES spending in the upcom-
Economic
ing fiscal year. Unlike the federal government, which has the ability to deficit spend, the state
budget must be balanced. When we spend more, we have to collect more, usually in the form
Development
of new or higher taxes.
I am deeply concerned by the governor’s proposal because it fails to recognize that our citizens
Subcommittees
simply cannot afford to turn over any more of their hard-earned money to the government. I am pleased to have the opportunity to chair two
The proposed $28.9 billion budget represents a $705 million increase over the current (fiscal House subcommittees this session.
year 2008-09) enacted state budget, but a full $1.2 billion more than what we actually anticipate Republican Leader Sam Smith has appointed
spending this year. Substantial spending cuts had to be made in the 2008-09 spending plan me to chair the Subcommittee on Financial Services
because revenues have fallen far short of the Rendell administration’s projections. and Banking of the House Commerce and Economic
Most regular people would take that as a sign that they need to continue cutting unnecessary Development Committee, and for the second consecu-
spending in order to make ends meet. But not our governor. tive session, the Subcommittee on Parks and Forests
Instead, he is using more than $3.1 billion in one-time revenue sources, such as money from of the House Environmental Resources and Energy
the federal economic stimulus and the state Rainy Day Fund, to balance the budget. This money Committee.
will not be available to balance future budgets. How will we pay for the programs and initiatives The Commerce and Economic Development Com-
funded by this money in the future? mittee should be quite active this session, given the
In addition, Governor Rendell is proposing more than $280 million in new taxes, including ongoing economic challenges we face. While I plan
a tax on natural gas harvested from the Marcellus Shale, an increased cigarette tax and a new to use my subcommittee role to advocate for proper
tax on smokeless tobacco. oversight of our banks and financial institutions, I es-
This is not the time for new taxes or new spending. It is time to regain our sense of fiscal pecially want the committee as a whole to work toward
responsibility, to limit government to the basic functions it was intended to provide and to allow policies that enhance job retention and creation in
the hard-working taxpayers of Pennsylvania to keep their money and spend it how they see fit. Pennsylvania. Too many of our hard-working citizens
State Budget Facts: are losing their jobs through no fault of their own, and
• If the 2009-10 budget is adopted as proposed, the state budget will have grown by 42 we need to do all we can to ensure people have the
percent, or $8.5 billion, during the Rendell administration. kind of job opportunities that enable them to support
• Of the proposed $29 billion budget, spending on their families.
education and welfare account for more than $21 billion. As a member of the Environmental Resources
• The state Department of Corrections is one of and Energy Committee, I will work toward the goal of
the fastest-growing areas of the budget. There are achieving energy independence, by both encouraging
more than 49,000 inmates in the state prison system. the development of alternative energy sources and
• A new state budget should be in place by June 30, the maximizing the use of traditional energy sources, such
end of the current fiscal year. The last time that deadline as the natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale. As
was met was 2002, the last year of the Ridge/Schweiker the parks and forests subcommittee chair, I will work to
administration. The Rendell administration has never ensure the proper management of the valuable natural
had an on-time budget. resources contained here.
Also this session, I will continue my service on the
Rep. Martin Causer is joined by his son, Matthew, on the floor of House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness
the Pennsylvania House of Representatives following swearing-in Committee and will return as chairman of the Legisla-
ceremonies in January. Causer is starting his fourth term serving the tive Timber Caucus and vice chairman of the Firefighter
people of Cameron, McKean and Potter counties. and Emergency Services Caucus.
Causer Hosts Hearing on Help Available for
Rural Health Care Issues PA’s Unemployed
Access to quality health care is a major concern across the state, but Just like the rest of the country, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate is
especially in rural areas like ours. At my request, the House Republican on the rise, hitting 7 percent in January (latest statistics available). Locally,
Policy Committee came to Coudersport April 14 for a hearing on the unique unemployment in Cameron, Potter and McKean counties is greater than
challenges facing rural health care providers and their patients. the statewide average.
The testimony gathered from doctors, hospital officials and others will While my priority is always to work toward creating and retaining
be used to determine if legislation or other administrative changes can help jobs in our region, that takes time. For people who need it now, help is
improve our rural health care system. Funding is always an issue, and we available.
were able to obtain additional funding for rural hospitals in last year’s budget A new state Web site, www.HeretoHelp.pa.gov, offers links to help
(see related story), but the economic downturn may make it difficult to come you determine your eligibility and to apply for things like unemployment
up with that kind of financial support in the 2009-2010 budget. compensation, free or reduced-cost health care coverage for you or your
While we work on issues specific to rural health care, the General As- children, mortgage assistance and more.
sembly also has been actively debating issues impacting the health care The federal government has recently increased unemployment
system statewide. Coming up with a solution is even more critical now as compensation payments and extended the time during which a qualified
more Pennsylvanians lose their jobs and employers struggle to afford the employee can collect benefits. Given the challenges of the job market
rising cost of health insurance coverage for their employees. today, unemployment can help get you and your family through this dif-
To ensure availability of care, we need to address high malpractice insur- ficult time.
ance costs by extending the MCare abatement program that has helped to I appreciate that most of you would prefer not to take help from the
keep doctors practicing here. The abatement is funded by money paid by government, but if it’s a choice between eating or not, paying your utility
doctors into the MCare fund, so there is no impact on our state budget. bills or not, taking yourself or your child to the doctor or not, I encourage
In order to eventually phase out the abatement program, we need to you to accept the help while continuing your search for employment.
address the root causes of high malpractice costs in our state by eliminating For more information, visit my Web site or call my office in Bradford
frivolous lawsuits and oversized jury awards. The Fair Share Act, which was or Coudersport.
overturned by the courts on a technicality, would ensure that parties named in
malpractice suits could only be held financially liable for their share of fault in
a given case. This will prevent attorneys from going after “deep pockets” such Thinking of Starting Your
as hospitals or other medical practices that may only bear a small percentage
of responsibility for the malpractice act.
Own Business?
We also need to reach out to patients and offer coverage alternatives to Small businesses are vital to the success of Pennsylvania’s economy
those who are uninsured. The government-sponsored CHIP program ensures and employ most of the state’s work force. If you have been thinking of
our kids are covered, but the adultBasic plan, which serves adults, does not starting your own business, financial and technical help is available.
have sufficient resources to meet the need. Historically, Pennsylvania has The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s Business Resource Center
had one of the lowest rates of uninsured people in the nation, but the ranks offers help to new start-up businesses and to existing businesses looking
of the uninsured are rising thanks to growing unemployment rate. to expand. Services include comprehensive business plan development,
Finally, we must take steps to make it more affordable for the private sector operational problem solving, identifying loan and other financial assistance
to continue providing health care benefits to employees by encouraging the programs, and marketing plan development. Call the center at 814-362-
use of Health Savings Accounts and wellness tax credits. We should also 5026 for more information.
establish a basic but affordable health benefit plan that small businesses can Additionally, the Clarion University Small Business Development Cen-
offer their employees. ter offers no-cost consulting services to entrepreneurs and small business
Only by addressing the root causes of rising health care costs will we owners to help with things like identifying markets for a product or service,
be able to fix what ails our health care system, not only in rural areas but developing a business plan or complying with state or federal laws.
across the state. For more information, visit my Web site and click on “Small Business
Assistance.”
Area Hospitals Get
Much-Needed Funding
One of the biggest challenges facing rural health care providers is low
reimbursement rates for care provided to Medicaid patients.
Sen. Joe Scarnati and I worked with our fellow rural lawmakers during the
2008-09 state budget process to secure additional funding so these hospitals
can continue serving their patients. Although the funding was approved with
the budget last July, the money is just now being released to area hospitals
that are designated either as federally qualified critical access hospitals or
state-defined critical access facilities.
In total, more than $5 million in state funds and $6 million in federal Borough officials from Lewis Run, Coudersport and Emporium were in Hershey
funds is being distributed to rural health care facilities across the state. Lo- recently for a Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs meeting and
cally, Charles Cole Memorial Hospital, which is a federally qualified critical stopped by the Capitol to meet with Rep. Martin Causer. Pictured left to right
access hospital, will receive more than $2 million in funding, while Bradford are Ed Hallock, Lewis Run Borough Secretary Tina Nelson, Emporium Mayor
Regional Medical Center, a state-defined critical access facility, will receive Bruno Carnovale, Lewis Run Mayor Al Montecalvo, Causer, Lewis Run Council
President Frank Langianese, Coudersport Mayor Wick Furman and Coudersport
nearly $300,000. Borough Manager Mud Moore.

www.RepC
Causer Supports Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients
Reforms needed to reign in fraud, abuse
As the state’s welfare spending skyrockets, House Republicans are continuing to push for reforms that will weed out fraud and abuse to
save taxpayer money.
One such reform is to require drug testing for adults receiving or applying for public assistance. I co-sponsored this legislation last session
and have signed on to the bill again this year.
Under the bill, anyone between the ages of 18 and 65 who signs up for public assistance would have to pass a drug test in order to receive
payment. People already receiving benefits at the time the law takes effect would be subject to testing the next time their case is reviewed. And
a random testing system would be established to check 20 percent of welfare recipients every six months.
A person who fails the drug test could be refused cash assistance benefits for a period of 12 months. Also, the person could be required to
participate in a drug treatment program before he or she could receive assistance in the future.
Other initiatives aimed at preventing welfare fraud:
• Require a photo to be placed on welfare recipients’ Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
• Establish a Pennsylvania Income Eligibility Verification System (IEVS). IEVS is a computerized system that matches applicants’ and
recipients’ Social Security numbers with 19 different federal and state databases.
• Establish U.S. citizenship requirements in order to receive assistance.
• Require the state Department of Public Welfare to submit the Pennsylvania Work Verification Plan, quarterly reports, annual reports and
any other data submitted to the federal government regarding the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to the
state treasurer, inspector general and officers of the General Assembly, and also post this information on the department’s website.

Attention Seniors: Apply Now for Applications for State


Property Tax, Rent Rebates Education Assistance
Applications for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program for 2008 are now
available.
Grants Now Available
Eligible participants can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property Students seeking state higher education assis-
taxes paid in 2008. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, tance grants for the 2009-10 academic year should
widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities. apply now.
Eligibility income limits for homeowners are set at the following levels, excluding 50 Need-based Pennsylvania State Grants are pro-
percent of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Railroad Retirement Tier vided to qualified Pennsylvania residents through the
1 benefits: Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
• $0 to $8,000, maximum $650 rebate (Homeowners and renters) (PHEAA) and do not have to be repaid. Students must
• $8,001 to $15,000, maximum $500 rebate (Homeowners and renters) complete and submit the Free Application for Federal
• $15,001 to $18,000, maximum $300 rebate (Homeowners only) Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered.
• $18,001 to $35,000, maximum $250 rebate (Homeowners only) May 1 is the application deadline for all students
Residents are reminded to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental seeking to renew their state grant aid regardless of
information required to process claims quickly and accurately. Applications are due by their program of study and for all other applicants for
June 30. bachelor’s degree programs, including new applicants
For more information, visit www.RepCauser.com or contact my offices in Bradford or and persons enrolling in college transfer programs at
Coudersport. If you were unable to attend any of the recent Property Tax/Rent Rebate two-year public or junior colleges.
clinics I held to help fill out these forms, just stop by the office during regular business Aug. 1 is the application deadline for all first-time
hours and we would be happy to help. applicants who plan to enroll in business or trade
schools, hospital schools of nursing or two-year ter-
minal programs at a community, junior or four-year
college.
Federal, state and institutional student aid pro-
grams have varying deadlines. Be sure to submit a
completed FAFSA prior to the earliest deadline for
awards for which the student may be eligible.
The PHEAA Web site offers services to manage
Rep. Martin student accounts successfully and obtain information
Causer about Pennsylvania State Grants or special programs
welcomes that would be relevant to secondary education stu-
people to dents including account summaries, free online appli-
his Property cations, online payment options, and additional forms
Tax/Rent Rebate of financial assistance such as work-study programs,
Clinic at the special grants or scholarships and loan forgiveness
Eldred Senior programs for those who qualify.
Center. For more information, visit RepCauser.com and
click on “Higher Education Help.”

Causer.com
 Senior Expo 2009 Mark Your Calendars For
Causer Continues Push
to Give Communities
Share of Timber, Oil,
Friday, August 7 Gas Revenue
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Each year, the Commonwealth gets millions of dollars
University of Pittsburgh at Bradford from the sale of timber, oil and natural gas harvested from
Sports and Fitness Building gymnasium state forest lands located here and across the state. I have
once again introduced legislation that would require a por-
Stop by for helpful information on health care, insurance, tion of this revenue to be returned to our communities.
nutrition and exercise, fire safety, financial planning, fraud Under House Bill 625, 10 percent of revenue gener-
protection, government services and more! ated from timber, gas and oil would have to be returned
to the county treasurer in the county in which the land is
If you can’t make the Bradford Expo, our Potter County located. The treasurer would then distribute 40 percent
Senior Expo is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 9, at the Roulette of the money to the school district and 30 percent to the
Fire Hall. Save the date! municipality in which the revenue was generated. The
remaining 30 percent will stay in the county treasury.
Students at Cameron, McKean and Potter counties are home to
St. Bernard more than 400,000 acres of state forest land, and the
Elementary School
welcomed Rep. timber, oil and gas industries are very active throughout
Martin Causer to the region. The activity is likely to increase as companies
their class for a seek the necessary permits and equipment to drill into the
lesson in state Marcellus Shale, which could hold anywhere from 168-516
government. trillion cubic feet of gas.
Our rich supply of natural resources provides a
substantial boost to the state treasury and holds great
promise for the state’s economic future, as well as its
energy future. It is time to ensure it provides local financial
benefits as well.

Help Available to
District Office Services:
To help maintain open lines of communication, I operate two full-time district offices
Lower Energy Costs
in Bradford and Coudersport. I also hold monthly office hours in communities throughout Homeowners who want to save on their energy bills
the district at the beginning of each month. by installing more energy efficient heating and cooling
My staff and I are ready to help answer your questions about a variety of state gov- systems, windows and more may qualify for assistance
ernment issues, as well as to provide information and applications for a variety of state from the Keystone HELP Energy Efficiency Loan and
programs. Services include: Rebate Program.
The new $17 million initiative is part of a $650 million
 Providing applications for the senior citizens Property Tax/Rent Rebate and PACE
energy packaged adopted by the General Assembly last
programs. year.
 Obtaining license and vehicle registration applications. Qualifying projects include energy efficient heat
pumps, central air conditioning, boilers, furnaces, water
 Securing birth and death certificates (photo identification is required). heaters, ceiling fans, programmable thermostats, venti-
 Providing assistance with applications for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. lating fans, windows and doors. Air sealing and insula-
tion projects may also be eligible, as are whole house
Also, contact me if you have a question about legislation or an idea for something the improvement projects that improve energy efficiency.
General Assembly needs to address. All work must be performed by an approved, trained or
certified contractor.
Homeowners with an annual household income of up
Here’s how to contact me: to $150,000 are eligible. The low-interest loans offered av-
erage about 4-8 percent depending on the type of project,
loan amount and level of home equity. Rebates of up to
 Bradford Office: 78 Main Street, 1st Floor  Coudersport Office: 2 Allegany Avenue $250 are available for ENERY STAR rated improvements,
Telephone 814-362-4400 Telephone 814-274-9769 while rebates of up to $500 are available for improvements
 Toll-Free: 1-866-437-8181 that exceed ENERGY STAR standards.
For more information on the program or to apply on-
E-mail: mcauser@pahousegop.com line, visit RepCauser.com. Applications are also available
by calling my offices in Bradford or Coudersport.

www.RepCauser.com