MIFFLINTOWN - Sen. Jake Corman told an assemblage Friday that moves are being made in Harrisburg that could someday help local government agencies do their jobs.
Corman, a Bellefonte Republican, fielded questions on mostly education and taxes from a room full of constituents at the Stop Restaurant in Mifflintown
There was a question from an audience member regarding the likelihood of replacing or minimizing property taxes with an increase in sales taxes.
"It's been voted on twice in the House and fell far short," Corman said.
The problem said Corman is that government can get taxes from the people "in their left pocket or right pocket ... either way, you're not going to like it."
Corman did, howeve,r state that it was unfair to raise taxes in a recession when everyone is already struggling, a reference to the Juniata County referendum question on the primary ballot, which if passed could increase property taxes by as much as 25 percent.
If the referendum fails to pass, the Juniata County School Board has stated that kindergarten could be eliminated, sports programs, arts, 60 plus jobs and several other cuts as well.
Ultimately, said Corman, school districts are controlled locally and if the public does not approve of a school board's actions, then they should bring that to their attention and/or elect new board members.
Corman said some of the state funding for basic education that had initially been cut under Gov. Tom Corbett's proposal was recently restored.
In addition, Corman said he and other members of the legislature are pushing to repeal some school mandates in an effort to curb some of the costs school districts have.
"If we are not going to help fund it, we shouldn't make them do it," Corman said.
Specifically, Corman would like to see legislators act on raising the monetary level that requires a school district to submit bids for projects, which currently stands at $25,000. Corman said nowadays districts that have large projects in the works are spending far more than $25,000.
Juniata County School Board member Gary Zeiders said he wants prevailing wage completely eliminated because "community contractors won't bid because of the paperwork involved."
Corman said prevailing wage might be able to be scaled back under Corbett's administration, but repeal probably wouldn't happen because there simply wasn't enough support for that in the legislature.
Corman also addressed concerns over the federal health care law and said Pennsylvania is currently one of several states involved in a lawsuit claiming the law is unconstitutional.
At the state level, Corman said one of the ways to curb the cost of health care is legal reform, because hospitals and healthcare providers are often the targets of lawsuits.
Corman said sometimes hospitals and health care providers pay a disproportionate amount of what their real liability may be because of their deep pockets.
As a result, Corman said new hospitals, health care providers and businesses are reluctant to locate in Pennsylvania.