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Issue Home January 13, 2010 Site Home

PARSE Update
Engagement Announced Ahearn - Wojtowicz
Major Opposed Table Games Legislation

PARSE Update
Submitted By Cynthia P. Sims

The Pennsylvania Association of Retired State Employees, Chapter 15, held its final meeting of the year 2009 at the Towanda American Legion on December 8. The group was delightfully entertained with Christmas music by Jim and Marie Parks.

Chapter 15 consists of all state retirees from Bradford, Sullivan and Susquehanna counties. The organization meets on the second Tuesday of each month beginning in March through December. All state retirees are urged to attend these meetings and/or join the organization. The organization’s goal in 2010 is to increase the membership in Chapter 15, as there is strength in numbers when pursuing an annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) and other retirement issues facing retirees.

The first PARSE meeting in 2010 will be held at the Elk Lake American Legion on April 13. To learn more about this organization and/or make a reservation, contact President Jesse Bacon at 570-265-9784, Susquehanna Co. Vice President John Benio at 570-278-2380 or Secretary Cynthia Sims at 570-265-9678.

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Engagement Announced Ahearn - Wojtowicz

Announcement has been made of the engagement and upcoming wedding of Abby Marie Ahearn, Shavertown to Robert Andrew Wojtowicz, Jr., Shavertown.

Robert and Abby

The bride-elect is the daughter of Patrick and Mary Beth Ahearn of Susquehanna, PA, formally of Danville, PA. She is a 1999 graduate of Danville Senior High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science from Albright College in 2003. She works as a Medical Center Representative for Genentech.

The prospective bridegroom is the son of Robert and Doreen Wojtowicz of Wilkes Barre, PA. He is a 1998 graduate of James M. Coughlin High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in Business and Political Science from Albright College in 2002. He works as a Sales Consultant for Synthes Spine.

The wedding is set for April 24, 2010 at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, Wilkes Barre, PA.

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Major Opposed Table Games Legislation

HARRISBURG - Saying it is a "bad deal for Pennsylvania," Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) voted against Senate Bill 711, which expands legal gambling to include table games in the Commonwealth.

Major said the bill, which passed the House by a vote of 103-89 and was signed today by Gov. Ed Rendell, does not go far enough to address her main concern - gaming reform.

Senate Bill 711 was originally a measure designed to address flaws with the enforcement of the 2004 slots bill. The measure was amended to allow games such as poker and blackjack in the state's casinos, in part, because the governor said the license fees and taxes generated by the games are needed to plug a $250 million hole in the state's budget.

"I would have preferred to see expansion of gaming and gaming reforms addressed in separate pieces of legislation," Major said. "Before expanding a broken system, we need to reform the current one."

Major said the gaming reforms that are in the legislation do not go far enough.

"The bill keeps Bureau of Investigation Enforcement (BIE) under the supervision of the Gaming Control Board," Major said. "Testimony taken at Republican Policy Committee hearings clearly indicated that the BIE would be more effective as an arm of the Office of Attorney General or the Pennsylvania State Police."

Major said she is also concerned that with taxes from table games proceeds being used for general fund expenses, there will be less money available for property tax relief - the original purpose of expanded gambling. Under the measure, if the state's Rainy Day Fund reaches $750 million, taxes imposed on the table games will be deposited in the Property Tax Relief Fund. "The problem is this could take an estimated 10 to 15 years and that assumes the state's economy gets back on track," she said.

"Finally," Major said, "policy makers should question the wisdom of counting on gambling revenues to fund government projects and agencies."

Under Senate Bill 711, the state gross-revenue tax rate would start at 14 percent until July 1, 2011 after that date it would drop to 12 percent. Licenses would cost larger casinos $16.5 million and resort casinos $7.5 million and a new resort casino could be added in 2017.

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