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Emrick Explains State Budget to Forks Residents

State Rep. Joe Emrick holds the first of three legislative breakfasts at the Forks Diner Friday morning.

launched his legislative breakfasts Friday morning, telling a contingent of 15 residents at the Forks Diner about the process to get the state's budget finalized.

In an hourlong discussion, Emrick outlined his concerns regarding the state budget, which was completed June 30 in time for the new fiscal year, which began on July 1.

"The budget didn't have a single tax increase in it," Emrick stated. "That's a massive victory. It's a very, very economically responsible budget."

In a June 5 letter, Emrick addressed his concerns regarding the budget proposal, saying that it failed to level fund some of the core responsibilities of government such as mental health, hospitals, nursing and health-care facilities and did not restore the basic education Accountability Block Grant.

"As a fiscal conservative, I am troubled by the additional $500 million proposed increase in spending brought forth by the state Senate, especially in light of the most recent revenue numbers," Emrick stated in his letter.

Emrick told residents that those funding levels were restored and that a waiting list of 1,100 mentally challenged people who the state needs to educate won't have to wait for education and care, that the waiting list was wiped out.

Emrick also touched upon resolving the dispute regarding earned income taxes for the in Allentown and how the pension crisis will one day end. (Stories will follow on palmer.patch.com.)

He also said that funding for unemployment compensation -- which he said was in dire straits -- has been addressed and will be back to solvency by 2018.

Among those in attendance were past president and new president of the Business and Commerce Association of Forks Township and Alison Miers, vice president of Easton initiatives for The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Emrick's next takes place next week at the Nazareth Diner.

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