Office Information 
Lehigh Office 
Lower Macungie Township Administration Building
3402 Brookside Road
Macungie, PA 18062
Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: (610) 965-9933
Fax: (610) 965-9174

Berks Satellite Office 
Topton Borough Hall
205 S Callowhill St.
Topton, PA 19562
Wednesdays 9:30 a.m. to noon
*Walk-ins only. No mail, please.

Capitol Office
160A East Wing
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2134
Phone: (717) 787-1000
Fax: (717) 782-2893
Legislative Year in Review
12/7/2016
By Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Berks/Lehigh)

The year 2016 is coming to a close and I would like to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the positive developments that occurred in the past year. In the state House of Representatives, we have worked to protect taxpayers, increase job opportunities, improve education and make needed reforms to state government. Specifically, we passed a budget that held the line on taxes and spent within our means, and passed several laws to address the state’s growing opioid epidemic.

In addition to these and many other accomplishments, I personally authored two bills that were signed into law this year. House Bill 1600, known as “Pennsylvania Startups for Soldiers,” waives state business startup fees for individuals transitioning to the civilian workforce from the United States Armed Forces, including reserve units and the National Guard. It is based on a similar program that has been successful in Missouri.

After honorably serving our country, many veterans have had difficulty finding private sector employment. During the height of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate among veterans was nearly 25 percent higher than the general population.

That gap has narrowed significantly, largely thanks to programs encouraging employers to hire former service members. Still, employment for one group of veterans continues to lag: those who enlisted after 9/11. These post-9/11 veterans generally have less job experience than older veterans, making it more difficult for them to compete in the employment marketplace.

Promoting entrepreneurship among veterans benefits everyone. Removing barriers to business startups will empower veterans to become their own bosses while creating good-paying, family-sustaining jobs for their fellow Pennsylvanians. It would also foster innovation, allowing them to apply the extensive leadership and organizational skills learned in the military.

Individuals who served in uniform have valuable skills that often aren’t fully appreciated or understood outside a military context. Helping veterans put their skills to work in start-up businesses is yet another tool as we seek to reduce the unemployment rate among people who sacrificed so much for our country.

I have also authored a new law that updates the Money Transmitters Act, which deals with the banking industry and hasn’t been updated since 1977. The changes my legislation made included modernizing the law to reflect current banking terminology, improving outdated licensing practices, and strengthening consumer protections.

As we head into next year, I will continue to be a strong advocate for putting a greater emphasis on training students for good-paying careers. As an example, I authored legislation that would create an education and workforce development pilot program called CareerBound during this past session.

The program would establish a collaborative partnership between businesses and schools to offer interested middle and high school students hands-on learning experience in career fields that are in high demand.

Under my legislation, businesses participating in CareerBound would receive a tax credit in exchange for monetary contributions to education and workforce development programs that give students real-world experience in growing industries. This tax credit would be modeled on the already successful Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC), which encourages businesses to invest in schools and scholarship programs for the purpose of enhancing academic achievement.

My legislation successfully passed the House by a unanimous vote, but was not taken up by the Senate for consideration by the end of the 2015-16 legislative session. This is a legislative initiative I plan to continue to pursue in the upcoming session.

We had a busy year in the state legislature and next year promises to hold a number of new challenges that I look forward to tackling. I will keep you updated as the year progresses.

Representative Ryan Mackenzie
134th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tricia Lehman
717.772.9840
tlehman@pahousegop.com
RepMackenzie.com / Facebook.com/RepMackenzie
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