Archive of posts for May, 2011:

Press Release: Shapiro-Richards: House budget bad for Montco; Urge Republican opponents to join in fighting against it

Posted by admin on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Abington, PA (May 24, 2011) – Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards, the Democratic candidates for Montgomery County commissioner, today sharply criticized the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives for passing a budget “that will negatively impact Montgomery County’s budget situation, but more importantly place the county’s most vulnerable residents in greater jeopardy.”  At the same time, they urged their Republican opponents – Bruce Castor and Jenny Brown – to join them in opposing the budget.  Shapiro, a Democratic state representative, fought doggedly against the budget bill, and voted against its passage.

The following is a joint statement issued by the Democratic team:

“The $27.3 billion budget passed today by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is an extreme budget that will negatively impact Montgomery County’s budget situation, but, more importantly, place the county’s most vulnerable residents in greater jeopardy.  And, it does all this while excusing gas drilling companies from paying their fair share.

“We call upon our opponents – Bruce Castor and Jenny Brown – to join us in this fight by using whatever influence they may have with their GOP colleagues in the legislature to restore this critically needed funding.   Regardless of political ideology, we should all be able to agree that a budget that hurts Montgomery County is not a budget worth supporting.

“These draconian cuts, proposed despite significantly increased state revenues, will cut $1.9 million from our community college’s state allocation, and put higher education out of reach of more of our young people.

“The cuts will also impact a wide range of human services, job development and veterans’ services.  In just one Montgomery County example, cuts to the Behavioral Health Services Initiative will result in the loss of a thousand halfway house days for county residents seeking drug and alcohol services, and the loss of those services will place additional strain on law enforcement, prisons and healthcare budgets.  This scenario will repeat itself in services to children and youth, mental health services, the elderly and the homeless.

“The county budget will be under increased stress, if the county is forced to provide some of the services that the state is neglecting.  Nevertheless, we remain committed to not raising county taxes.  The bottom line will always be our focus, and we will find creative ways and solutions to do more with less.

“In the end, this is a very bad budget for Montgomery County and its residents.  Whether you are a Montgomery County Republican or Democrat, this should concern you, and that is why we are asking our opponents to join with us in trying to fight against this budget.”

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According to the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, which vigorously opposes the budget, here are just a few of the significant cuts made by the Republican budget:

  • Human Services Development Fund (HSDF), a flexible fund that Montgomery County primarily uses to serve individuals that have physical and mental disabilities that do not qualify for Medical Assistance,  is $4 million less than the 2010-2011 budget
  • The Homeless Assistance Program is proposed at $20.6 million under the House Republican proposal, which is a decrease of nine percent from Gov. Corbett’s proposed state funding of $22.6 million, and a ten percent decrease from last year’s state funded amount of $22.8 million. This will have a significant impact on the ability of counties to provide homeless services across the commonwealth
  • Medical Assistance Transportation (MATP) funds have been decreased by almost $10 million from Governor Corbett’s proposed state budget amount of $74.6 million.  In total, when looking at both state and federal funds, the House GOP proposal reduces MATP by almost 14 percent from the 2010 – 2011 appropriation
  • County children and youth programs have been cut by approximately $22 million from the Governor’s proposal, and about five percent from FY 2010 – 2011 levels.  In particular, the House Republican proposal cuts county child care services an additional 16 percent beyond the governor’s proposed cuts and turns the slight increase proposed by the governor for child care assistance into a reduction of 6.48 percent over 2010 –2011 levels
  • Mental health services would also be impacted by a significant cut to behavioral health services initiative (BHSI) dollars, which were reduced an additional $4.3 million (8.3 percent) below the cuts proposed by the governor; this equates to a total cut from FY 2010 – 2011 for BHSI under the House Republican proposal of ten percent. State dollars for autism services have been reduced by 20.3 percent compared to the Governor’s proposed budget.

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LETTER: Richards, Shapiro are true servants

Posted by admin on Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Letter in Montgomery News

To the Editor:

It is out of the spirit of gratitude and love for our county, state and country that I write this letter, for these are crucial and critical times that have impacted people from all walks of life. Our prayers are continually for the healing that our world needs. As people of faith, we have been called upon to seek to make a difference by speaking for justice and equality. I believe with all my heart that a change is needed and we can begin in Montgomery County. I am committed to help that change occur.

I have been asked to serve as the Faith Based Coordinator for Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards, the Democratic candidates for Montgomery County Commissioners. These are two outstanding servants that possess a heart for people. They are competent and committed and have the passion to bring to our county integrity, honesty and excellence that will enhance the residents of our county. They are committed to work across party lines, not only to help our county, but our state, our country and our world.

I ask you to join me in supporting these two outstanding servants. I invite you to visit their website at www.ShapiroRichards.com to get more information on their campaign.

Rev. Charles W. Quann

Bethlehem Baptist Church

Read the full letter here.

Press Release: Shapiro, Richards question county regs on farmers’ markets

Posted by admin on Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Abington, PA (May 9, 2011) – Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards, the Democratic candidates for Montgomery County commissioner, have sent a letter to the county health department on behalf of county farmers’ markets urging the county to reconsider new regulations, which “go beyond” what the state Department of Agriculture requires.

The Montgomery County Commissioners are expected to address the new regulations at their weekly meeting on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

In their letter to Director of Health Dr. Joseph M. DiMino, Shapiro and Richards said, “Like you, we are committed to revitalizing our communities and helping to provide safe access to locally produced meats, fruits and vegetables.  Unfortunately, a number of the new county regulations threaten the livelihood of many vendors and put the markets in our county at a competitive disadvantage with surrounding counties.”

The letter also said that the new regulations “will likely prohibit many vendors from participating in markets in Montgomery County.”

Shapiro and Richards said the “most burdensome” regulations are those requiring “significant physical upgrades at each vendor station along with hefty permitting fees.”

While there are a multitude of new regulations in Montgomery County, the most controversial and damaging to the future viability of the markets are:

  • A requirement for a vendor to have a portable, hot-water sink on site (costs range from $750 to $1,500), if they are handling any unpackaged food.  This would include a vendor offering samples of fruits, or a winery offering samples in disposable cups.
  • A requirement of a $100 permitting fee for every market at which a vendor participates, instead of a single fee to do business at Montgomery County markets.  Some vendors participate in several markets.

In recent news reports, vendors have claimed that these regulations alone would “overwhelm” annual sales.

Shapiro and Richards ask DiMino to join with them in creating “an environment where farmers’ markets can thrive in Montgomery County by creating regulations that support farmers and our local economy, while ensuring customers have a safe and enjoyable shopping experience.”

Click here to read the letter.