YOU MAY HAVE RECEIVED A FEW MAILINGS...
I know politics is a full contact sport and some people will say anything to get elected. I truly am trying to rise above but I find our current political climate to be very challenging when one can say anything they want and have no accountability.
This past week my opponent sent out two negative mail pieces directed at me filled with lies and distortions. I am certain more will follow. With that said I feel compelled to answer and will attempt to do so here.
In his first mailer, my opponent states, “George Dunbar voted to slash funding for education” and cites the 2017-2018 budget HB 218. This shocked me- it’s a blatant lie. I am the Vice Chair of Appropriations and know these budgets very well. In this budget (which passed with bi-partisan support 173-27) education spending was increased by 3.6% or 429 million. Basic education subsidy increased by 100 million, special education increased by 25 million, Pre-K counts and Headstart increased by 30 million. I truly have no idea where he is coming from.
He also states that I voted, “to redistribute funds from local schools to charter schools outside of our community.” He cites HB 97 for this lie, a bill which I do support, that has not made it to the governor’s desk. In reality, HB 97 does exactly the OPPOSITE of what he states. Here is an excerpt from the Fiscal note prepared by the House Appropriation Committee: ”increasing the expenditures school districts may deduct when calculating payments to cyber charter schools will save school districts money by reducing their payments to those schools. It is estimated these savings could be as much as $27 million
per fiscal year.” This bill would have saved our public schools 27 million- I’m not sure what my opponent thinks is happening.
On the same mailer I am accused of voting to cut funding from local public health departments in the 2017-2018 budget- again this is not true. In the Governor’s budget address in February 2017 he made a proposal to institute a new line item called Public Health Departments and fund it with an appropriation of 25.4 million. Moving this line item from the Department of Drug and Alcohol to the Department of Human Services. This proposal did not have support and the line item remained in DDAP where it was funded the same as in previous years. NO CUTS WERE MADE.
My opponent follows this triumvirate of distortions with “he cut funding for mental health services.”
With this one he was at least in the same ballpark. The mental health services line were reduced in this budget by 19.6 million. However, what he forgot to mention, or what he fails to understand about budgeting, was that in that budget we had a 22-million-dollar tax credit applied. It’s clearly stated in every budget document I have seen. In reality we spent 3 million more.
I find this whole thing despicable. Especially when the budget passed with bi-partisan support 173-27. A budget that held the line on overall spending. Continuing on the first mailer, I also was accused of voting to increase costs to families with children with disabilities. He cites HB 2138 which I do support and have voted for. HB 2138 requires those able-bodied individuals who receive medical assistance to be employed or attending some type of job training. I’m not positive how this increases costs to families with disabilities. There are numerous exceptions to the bill to safeguard those who cannot meet this requirement for a valid reason. Also cited is HB 59, which I also support and voted for. This one he got right. It does increase costs for some families with children with disabilities. What he doesn’t tell you is that it only effects those families making over 1000% of the federal poverty level. What the bill requires is those over that threshold to make a small co-pay as opposed to having all medical services for free. I do not think that asking a family making over $300,000 a year to contribute to their health care is an unreasonable request. I guess my opponent just likes looking out for the 1%.
Lastly, on his second mailer he states I voted against an amendment on HB 1490. This amendment was A5147 and would prevent politicians from collecting a paycheck until a balanced budget is passed. Well HB 1490 had nothing at all to do with this and there was no such amendment filed on it. But with a little digging I was able to figure out he meant HB 1940. This bill simply says that a Governor cannot approve a budget (the spending plan) without first signing a revenue estimate. Makes sense- but like many things
in Harrisburg it was viewed as trying to usurp power from the Governor’s office and became very partisan. When bills are viewed as partisan the opposing side many times tries to amend them with poison pills. Words that could possibly if included in the bill cause it to fail. This is what this amendment was. It failed 34-154. Everyone could see it was nothing more than a partisan attempt to blow up the legislation. In honesty, if Representative Dean (who offered the amendment) was serious about the issue, she could have introduced it as a bill on its own. She chose not to, just like she chose not to cosponsor the identical legislation to her amendment in prior years HB 1321 of 2013-2014 and HB 1572 of 2015-2016.
So, as you can see these lies and distortions are hard to clear up with a simple mailer. That’s why they do this. I have always attempted to be totally honest and transparent with all of my votes I believe it is a trait all elected officials should have. But what my opponent is feeding people truly lacks these traits.