EAST MARLBOROUGH—Almost a dozen residents had a chance to chat with state Rep. Chris Sappey, D-158, during a recent telephone town hall. More than a thousand voters listened in.
Sappey addressed questions about open primaries, term limits, an extraction tax on Marcellus shale deposits and raising the minimum wage.
Resident April, of London Britain, Township, noted that independents and third party voters are turned away from the polls during primary voting, due to their non-major party status.
“It’s something we should definitely consider to give everybody an opportunity,” Sappey said.
Sappey then played the devil’s advocate. “Pick the captain of your team and if you don’t have a team should you be able to choose?”
Cheryl, of Romansville, asked about Embreeville, site of a proposed large housing subdivision development.
Sappey said the process was “dragging on” and although the developer was performing a clean-up, there is no township development plan.
Sappey talked to Sal about term limits.
The rep said she is a co-sponsor of legislation to limit the length of a rep's stay in office. She said that legislation to limit to what she said is fair – three or four terms – is not something “we will see soon.”
Ed asked about establishing an extraction tax for Marcellus shale gas products.
Sappey said that Gov. Tom Wolf favors the tax. Sappey also said that more Republicans than not do not favor the tax, while some consider that jobs are at stake.
Sappey said she had co-sponsored a bill that reduces carbon emissions and would likely impact climate change.
She advocated for limiting carbon, while not just considering solar and wind power alternatives but also nuclear and natural gas power.
“This is a huge issue, hopefully we’ll get something done this term,” Sappey said.
George asked about changing property taxes to another form of taxation.
“It seems like every election it gets some lip service … then gets put on a back burner,” Sappey said. She said that until alternative tax levies are found, there will likely be not real change.
Dan of West Goshen Township asked whether the state budget would be passed on deadline. The rep said she was cautiously optimistic.
Arnold wants infrastructure and roads fixed.
Sappey said that Pennsylvanians pay the highest gas tax in the country, while noting that some of that levy is diverted to pay for state police coverage.
A resident asked if they would be required to place solar panels on their home.
Sappey said that no such rule was on the books.
Residents were asked to answer survey questions by punching numbers on their phones and 88 percent favor a tax on natural gas producers.
David of Landenberg talked about soaring prescription drug costs. Sappey said the price jumps are “outrageous.”
Connie asked about legalizing marijuana.
Sappey noted that Lt. Gov. John Fetterman was visiting every county to gauge opinion.
“I can’t say it will come soon,” Sappey said. “Nothing has been introduced and it was not sent to any committee.”
Sappey’s office is located at 698 Unionville Road, at the Willowdale Town Center, at routes 926 and 82, with office hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, call 484-200-8264.