Barry’s Priorities:

  • Restore fiscal discipline to state government
  • Make Pennsylvania competitive again
  • Provide property tax relief
  • Bring our education system into the 21st century
  • Solve the still growing state pension crisis
  • Protect and preserve our local agricultural economy
  • Stop Governor Wolf’s liberal tax and spend agenda

Barry on the Issues:

Solving Pennsylvania's Budget Crisis

To solve our budget crisis and kick start our state economy, we must:
1. Reduce the state corporate tax rate and eliminate nuisance regulations
2. Streamline state government by switching from Baseline Budgeting to Zero-Based Budgeting
Pennsylvania has the second highest corporate tax rate in the country at 9.99% and we have over 153,000 regulations laying over our state economy like a wet blanket.  A vibrant growing economy will go a long way in solving our budget crisis.  To get our State economy restarted, we need to cut, at a minimum, the corporate tax rate in half to 5% and drastically reduce the regulation burden on the people of Pennsylvania.  A state with low taxes and only the necessary regulations will attract hundreds of businesses.  This will create an environment where companies are competing to hire you, increasing take home pay for all. State Government doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem that comes from unaccountable state bureaucracies.  These bureaucracies spend too much because of baseline budgeting.  The baseline budget method allows every Pennsylvania state department to begin each new fiscal year with the same funding level as the previous year, leading to bloated unaccountable bureaucracies. We get accountability in state government by switching to zero-based budgeting.  Under zero based budgeting every department would start with a budget of $0 dollars at the beginning of the fiscal year.  Each department would have to justify their requested budget based on the performance of their respective programs in the last fiscal year. Through zero based budgeting, the people of Pennsylvania would have accountability and transparency in government, resulting in the saving of tens of millions of dollars annually! Streamlining state government, eliminating nuisance regulations and cutting the corporate tax rate will create high paying jobs and increase the revenue to the state treasury ending the budget crisis.

Public Employee Pension Reform

I support phasing out our current defined benefit pension plan by offering all new public employees a defined
 contribution retirement plan
On June 12, 2017 Senate Bill 1 (Act 5) was signed into law creating a combination of a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan for Pennsylvania’s public employees.  It was a baby step in the right direction.  But, the defined benefit portion is still going to add to Pennsylvania’s unfunded liability. In order to protect the taxpayers from these still increasing obligations, we must eliminate the defined benefits program all together.  The promise of a pension plan for current employees will be kept, but we must stop the ever increasing pension deficit by offering all new state employees, including legislators, a defined contribution plan.  The same type of retirement plan that the private sector has today. Once we stop the increases in pension liabilities, we can more effectively address paying off the debt.  This would lead to a solvent stable retirement system that would in turn improve the bond rating of our state, lowering the interest rate Pennsylvania would have to pay on future bond issues.  Stabilizing future pension liabilities will make it easier to balance the state budget without increasing taxes.

Government Over-Regulation

To grow our economy we must reduce the regulation burden
Pennsylvania has a heavy hand when it comes to business regulation and its crushing economic growth.   Pennsylvania ranks 36th out of 50 in terms of regulatory burden on small businesses.  Our state has over 153,000 business regulations and restrictions.  From ridiculous licensing requirements to taking more than a year to approve permits, Pennsylvania has become one of the most difficult states in America to start or operate a business. Having been an entrepreneur and business owner for over 27 years in the Commonwealth, I have the personal experience to tackle the challenge of eliminating unnecessary regulations that will help start an economic revival in our state. This will in turn create high paying jobs and much needed pay raises for millions of hardworking Pennsylvanians.

Healthcare Reform

I support the full repeal of The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The ACA is not affordable for most Americans.  Health Insurance premiums on the federal individual marketplace have gone up in Pennsylvania an average of 139% since 2014.  Annual deductibles in the thousands of dollars are now common.  You can’t afford to use the health insurance you were forced to buy!  No one should be compelled by the government to purchase any product or service. I support a free market solution that would offer two risk pools for those who choose to buy health insurance.  80% of all medical claims come from 20% of the population.  Utilizing this fact, I would sponsor legislation to create one risk pool that allows those without serious pre-existing conditions (the 80%) to buy the health plan of their choice from the company of their choice, from the state of their choice.   The nationwide competition and health of this group would drastically reduce monthly premiums. My legislation would create a second risk pool to cover those people with serious or chronic medical conditions that would either be denied coverage in the first risk pool or the monthly premium offered them in the first risk pool would be too high for their income level.  Accordingly, we would only have to offer a subsidy to this second much smaller group. Currently over 80% of Pennsylvanians who buy health insurance on the Obamacare marketplace qualify for a subsidy.  My Two Tier Plan could cut in half the amount of subsidies needed.  Saving you the taxpayer, millions of dollars annually. The Two Risk Pool Plan would reduce premiums drastically and save millions of taxpayer dollars while covering all Pennsylvanians.

School Property Taxes

I support the Property Tax Independence Act
“No tax should have the power to leave you homeless” a voter once exclaimed and I agree!  And no one should have to choose between paying for medications and property taxes.  The biggest offender in Pennsylvania is the school property tax.  Many homeowners, mostly the elderly, have had to file bankruptcy and sell their homes because of exorbitant school property tax rates.  This must stop! I support the Property Tax Independence Act to replace school property taxes with a fairer combination of income and sales taxes.