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Punt, Rock speak at legislative breakfast

April 02, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, PA. - State Sen. Terry Punt warned approximately 140 Franklin County business and municipal leaders Friday morning that the Pennsylvania General Assembly could balk at what he perceives as pitfalls in Gov. Ed Rendell's $27.3 billion proposed budget.

"This year is going to be a very tight budget year," Punt said. "We're not going to pass the budget by June 30."

Instead, legislators will pass that deadline and only reach a consensus in August or September, Punt predicted.

Punt and state Rep. Todd Rock, both R-Franklin, were the featured speakers at Friday's legislative breakfast hosted by the Greater Waynesboro, Greencastle-Antrim and Mercersburg Area Chambers of Commerce.

Punt, who is in his 29th year in office, answered a series of submitted questions about projects in the county, while freshman representative Rock primarily used his time to introduce himself.

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"It seemed like (Rock) was talking a lot about his reforms, but you didn't hear about any of them" being developed, said Matt Mason, who recently moved to the area from Indiana. It was Mason's first time hearing either man speak.

Rock admitted that, in the first three months of the year, "we haven't gotten a whole lot done." He pointed to 50 new lawmakers becoming adjusted and a new Republican speaker leading the Democrat-controlled Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Rock highlighted bills he's supporting or introducing including one that would permit flashing lights on top of pizza delivery vehicles, another that would use founding documents in the classroom and a third that creates tighter spending limits. He also is championing a retirement system for fire and rescue personnel.

Punt spoke about Pennsylvania Department of Transportation work, specifically the repaving of Pa. 16 from Upton, Pa., to Mercersburg, Pa., and a turn lane being created at the Pa. 16 intersection with Hill Road.

Both men shared concerns about a defunct bill that proposed impact fees on new development. Punt feels that an impact fee with a flat rate will add to costs passed onto homeowners and instead supports a fee derived through a formula.

"We're looking at that very prospect right now with a formula-based impact fee," Punt said.

Rock supports an impact fee that could be lifted when not necessary to fund capital projects and reinstated if needed.

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