Mike Schlossberg for State Representative
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About Mike
Accomplishments
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Improving Schools and Slowing Property Taxes
Protecting the Vulnerable
A Bipartisan Leader
132nd Legislative District
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PLATFORM

Education & Property Tax Relief

  • Investing in education: Nothing — absolutely nothing — is more important than adequately investing in all of our community schools. Pennsylvania has the worst gap between rich and poor school districts in the entire nation, and nowhere is that gap more apparent than in the difference between the Allentown and Parkland School Districts. Allentown lost over 400 teachers since 2010, and this is beyond unacceptable. Without a full reversal of these policies, we are condemning a generation of children to take far more than they give to society and to inadequate lives of poverty and dependency. We must fully fund education. Now.

  • Property Tax Relief: Pennsylvania remains towards the bottom of states in terms of investment in education at the state level, and this is unacceptable. As a result of a lack of funding from the Commonwealth, local property taxes are through the roof, disproportionately hitting high-poverty districts like Allentown. This is one of the many reasons that I fully support additional investment in education at the state level. Doing so will control skyrocketing property tax bills.

  • Expanding Pre-K: Multiple studies make it clear: An investment in pre-K yields incredible dividends later down the line. That’s why I am a strong advocate for increasing our investment into Pre-K programs like head start. It’s also why I’ve become one of the Commonwealth’s leading advocates for Pay For Success programs, a cutting edge finance mechanism which seeks to infuse the Pre-K system with investments from the private sector, leading directly to smarter, healthier children and allowing everyone to profit from the dollars saved as a result of these improvements.

  • Higher Education: Pennsylvania is one of the national leaders in terms of college graduates and student loans. This issue is more than an abstract one to me; my wife and I pay almost as much on our student loans as we do on our mortgage! The student debt crisis is largely funding cuts to higher education. As a result, we are saddling a generation of students with unsustainable debt, damaging their future earnings potential and jeopardizing our economy. We must do everything we can to restore funding cuts to higher education.

Human Services & Mental Health

  • Restoring our investments to Human Services: Human service funding took an absolutely devastating hit under Tom Corbett’s tenure, and we have still not replaced that money. We must restore these critical funds in order to make sure that those who have the least can get the assistance they need to live.

  • Fighting mental health stigma: One in four Americans suffers from some sort of mental health disorder, but only 30-40% of those who suffer will seek treatment. A large part of the reason for this is because there is still a major stigma that surrounds mental health disorders. We must continue to fight this stigma in order to ensure that those who need help will seek it.

Restoring the middle class: Jobs & Economic Development

The gap between the richest and middle class in America, and in Pennsylvania, is higher than it has been since just before the Great Depression. The only way we have a thriving economy is with a healthy middle class, and the only way we have that is by giving people the opportunity to get a job and succeed.

  • Enhancing Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector: Manufacturing is one of the biggest contributors to Pennsylvania’s economy. At the same time, there aren’t enough employees to fill job vacancies in this area, resulting in lowered productivity and a missed opportunity for the unemployed. As such, I fully support growing this sector by increasing funding to Career & Technical schools, increased funding to Ben Franklin Technology Partners and continued private-public partnerships between the manufacturing sector and government.

  • Continued development of the NIZ: The Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) is a tremendous blessing to Allentown that is helping to turn the City around. As a member of City Council, I fully supported the NIZ and continue to do so. However, I want to work to make sure that its benefits are targeted to Allentown’s population and am committed to the employment of Allentown residents in this area.

  • Increasing Pennsylvania minimum wage: If minimum wage had kept with inflation over the past 40 years, it would be nearly $11. Instead, it’s $7.25. A family making minimum wage will still be stuck in poverty and unable to purchase their share of the America dream.

  • Protecting Pennsylvania’s Unions: Unions remain the backbone of the middle class, and in my mind, it’s no coincidence that declines in the strengths of unions occurred at the same time of the middle class. I will support all efforts to strengthen Pennsylvania’s unions and oppose Koch-brother supported legislation like “right to work” and other union-busting measures.

  • Targeted tax credits towards businesses that hire those who need jobs the most: Many sectors of our population have been hit harder than others in the recent economic turmoil. As such, I would support the creation of a tax credit, available to any and all businesses which hire Veterans, recent high-school or college graduates and the long-term unemployed.

  • Enhanced funding to Workforce Investment Boards, Small Business Development Centers & Manufacturers Resource Centers: These two programs are incredibly helpful at putting people back to work, helping them develop new skills and creating new small businesses; yet, at a time when these services were most needed, funding for both programs was slashed in the first Corbett budgets. I would fight to restore these cuts and ultimately further enhance both of these programs.

  • Pass legislation making it illegal to discriminate passed on someone’s long-term employment status: In Pennsylvania, it is still legal for an employer to choose not to hire someone simply because they have been unemployed for “too long.” This is unacceptable, as far too many of our residents have been unemployed for extended periods of time through no fault of their own. As such, I will work towards the passage of legislation that will make it illegal for an employer to choose not to hire someone only because of their unemployment status.

Protecting Women & Women’s Rights

I am fully supportive of a woman’s right to choose and will fight against any government intrusion into the efforts of a woman to control her own body and life. Indeed, my first speech as a member of the legislature was against a bill that would deny women the ability to purchase insurance on our health exchanges that would cover abortion. However, to me, Women’s Rights is about more than laws about abortion. Women face special health, economic and legal challenges that men do not; I support efforts to remedy these problems. I am a proud member of the Women’s Health Caucus and have cosponsored a variety of pro-woman and pro-family legislation, including pay equity, increase eligibility for breast and cervical cancer screenings, enhanced protections for domestic violence victims and more. I’ve also attended numerous Planned Parenthood rallies and spoken repeatedly in favor of the services that they provide. I will fight, tooth and nail, against any effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

Reasonable Gun Control

America is, quite literally, the only Western nation that regularly suffers from gun massacres. We must acknowledge that the ease with which people can get guns is at least partially responsible for these tragedies. That is why I favor common-sense gun control which would attempt to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of those who should not have them, including:

  • Requiring background checks for all gun sales.

  • Mandating the reporting of guns which are lost and stolen, and allowing local municipalities to do the same.

  • Limiting the size of ammunition magazines.

  • Opposing the elimination of the Pennsylvania Instant Criminal Background check.

  • Allowing Pennsylvania colleges to continue to be able to ban weapons on campus.

Equal Rights for All

I’ve spent my career fighting to protect equal rights. As an Allentown City Councilmember, I was proud to co-sponsor legislation that made Allentown the 4th municipality in Pennsylvania to provide domestic partner benefits for city employees. This law makes Allentown competitive in attracting and retaining a top-talented workforce at a next-to-nothing cost. As an employee with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, I worked with my colleagues to support the creation of the organization’s LGBT Business Council. As a State Representative, I continue to fight for these vitally important issues.

  • I am a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, which fights for protection and equality for LGBT members of our community. I favor full equality and protection under the law for LGBT Pennsylvanians.

  • I am a cosponsor of every piece of pro-equality legislation, including legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT Pennsylvanians. Right now, someone in Pennsylvania can be fired from their job, evicted or denied public accommodations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is wrong and must be changed.

  • Working with State Representative Brian Sims, the first ever openly gay member elected to the legislature, I helped establish the first ever LGBT “tweet up,” which organized nearly twenty legislatures to answer questions from Pennsylvania residents on LGBT-related issues.

Marcellus Shale

Marcellus Shale represents an incredible opportunity for Pennsylvania, particularly in terms of jobs it can create and revenue it can generate. Not taking advantage of either of these opportunities is foolish and unwise, especially when considering that 96% off all natural gas produced in the United States is subjected to some sort of tax.

I proudly voted for a Marcellus Shale extraction tax, and I believe that one of the greatest flaws of the 2015 budget was that it lacked an extraction tax. I will continue to fight for a reasonable extraction tax on Marcellus Shale. Such a tax can generate hundreds of millions in revenue that can be used to protect the environment, minimize negative local impacts and fund our schools.

Good Government

At a time when the average person’s faith in government is at an all-time low, I promise to do everything I can to restore your trust in government. People should expect nothing but the highest standards from their government, and I promise to live up to those standards. I support:

  • Early Voting: This first piece of legislation I introduced would legalize Early Voting in Pennsylvania. I believe that it is absolutely vital that we make it easier, not harder, for people to vote in the Commonwealth.

  • Non-partisan redistricting: As the most recent redistricting effort has proven, politics can destroy any efforts to create a fair and equitable redistricting map. The 2012 revisions sought only to protect Republican incumbents and maximize Republican electoral gains. This leads to atrocious public policy that does not reflect the will of the voters. As State Representative, I have cosponsored and voted for an independent, non-partisan redistricting commission that creates new districts based on creating compact and similar communities, not election wins for political parties.

  • Campaign finance reform: Currently, Pennsylvania has an unlimited cap on donations to state and local candidates. I believe this is unacceptable and would favor legislation that tied Individual and PAC donations to the federal limits.

 

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Improving Schools and Slowing Property Taxes
Protecting the Vulnerable | A Bipartisan Leader
132nd Legislative District
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