Representative Mike Turzai (MT): We‘ve been doing a series of bills throughout this session to create a more competitive business climate in Pennsylvania. Some of the bills we have done are the Fair Share Act, which covered tort reform [this legislation limits the liability for negligence of defendants in some civil court cases]. The Governor signed this into law in June 2011. We’ve done Unemployment Compensation reform where we put caps on the amount of benefits and the increases in benefits, and also added a job search requirement. We’ve passed HB1294 which allowed for an expedited Public Utilities Commission review process1. So Unemployment Compensation reform, PUC review, tort reform. We’ve done a couple of other bills that are still over in the Senate. Another piece of legislation that we thought was important was we repealed the sprinkler mandate in the Uniform Construction Code and changed how we approach the building code going forward. As part of our EmployPA, we have three additional things that we want to put on the agenda: first, further Unemployment Compensation reform; second, further tort reform, especially venue change; and third, business tax reform.
ND: So you have a very comprehensive package to make the private sector a lot more competitive in Pennsylvania.
MT: That’s really been our goal to do that.
ND: What is the prospect for an on time budget this year? I know some of your colleagues would like to restore some of the funding cuts particularly for education. So what is your outlook for that this year?
MT: I think we’ll be done by mid-June with the budget. I think we will work diligently with the Senate and the Governor to have an on-time budget that does not increase taxes and will keep spending under the rate of inflation. And that will be the second year in a row that we have delivered an on-time budget, and one that does not increase taxes. In fact, I think it will continue to decrease taxes; the Capitol Stock and Franchise Tax phase out is something that we feel very strongly about.
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