Jobs and The Economy

As a lifelong resident and small business owner in Delaware County, Tom understands the challenges facing local business owners. In the Pennsylvania Senate, Tom has supported efforts to reduce taxes on job creators that hinder economic growth and limit opportunity for new job creation. Tom has also worked to streamline costly, burdensome, and time-consuming Harrisburg regulations on businesses, enabling entrepreneurs and business owners to spend more time growing their business, employing hard working Pennsylvanians and less time dealing with government bureaucracy and paperwork.

 

Protecting Delaware County Jobs

As Chairman of Delaware County Council, Tom was instrumental in bringing together a coalition of state and federal government leaders who worked to prevent the closure of two oil refineries in Delaware County. Working with both Republicans and Democrats, Tom and other regional leaders helped preserve a way of life for Delaware County families that has endured for generations. Thousands of jobs were saved, and an industry that contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to our region's economy was protected.

 

Supporting Local Economic Growth

As a county elected official and now a state senator, Tom knows that simply maintaining the status quo isn't enough to keep our communities economically competitive. That's why he's taken an innovative, proactive approach to expanding opportunities for businesses in our region. Recognizing that Delaware County needed a focused effort on job creation and business growth, Tom spearheaded the development of a comprehensive economic plan for Delaware County.

Tom played a key role in attracting the Philadelphia Union Soccer Club to Delaware County and in facilitating the constriction of PPL Park. The construction of PPL Park created thousands of union jobs and has revitalized the City of Chester's waterfront. Tom also worked closely with the developer of Sun Center Studio, a movie and film production studio now operating in Chester Township, where a number of major motion pictures have already been produced.

 

Education

Tom McGarrigle understands that a quality education provides the foundation for economic opportunity.  Tom believes that every child deserves access to a high-quality education that puts them on the path to success later in life. The quality of a child’s education should not be determined by their zip code or which school district they attend.

 

Fair Education Funding Formula

Tom believes the state's current method of allocating taxpayer dollars to school districts is inherently unfair. The antiquated funding formula lets too many of our students down. Tom is working to introduce legislation that will direct the distribution of state education dollars a new, more equitable manner. In addition, Tom supports implementing a fair shale extraction tax that will generate hundreds of millions of additional dollars for education and provide our schools and teachers with the resources they need.   

 

Increased State Funding for Education

Since being elected to the Senate in 2014, Tom has consistently supported substantial increases in state funding for education. We need to ensure the financial burden of increased education funding does not fall on hardworking families in the form of higher income or property taxes. That is why Tom unveiled an innovative proposal to direct more funding to our schools by establishing a severance tax on the state's Marcellus Shale industry. This bold proposal passed the Senate and has earned widespread bipartisan acclaim.  Tom’s proposal, if enacted, will generate billions of dollars in new education funding for our children and schools over the course of the next decade, helping to address the problem of annual property tax hikes by local school districts.

 

The Keystone Exams and High Stakes Testing

Tom understands that what works for one student may not work for another, and that standardized tests are not always an accurate judge of what a student has and has not learned. To address the problem of high-stakes testing and graduation requirements, Tom’s legislation addressed the fundamental problem of the Keystone Exams and the one-size fits all approach it took to assessing students’ readiness for graduation. Under the legislation Tom championed, graduation readiness assessments can now take into account an individual student's strengths, interests, and whether they will be pursuing higher education, learning a trade or vocational skills, or entering the workforce.  Tom’s common-sense, bipartisan approach to addressing this problem led both the Pennsylvania State Education Association and the Pennsylvania School Board Association – two divergent groups that typically find themselves on opposing side of many education issues – to endorse and champion the bill’s passage in the legislature.

 

Fiscal Responsibility

Before he was elected to the Pennsylvania Senate, Tom had already established a proven record of fighting for fiscal responsibility. As both a township commissioner and as Chairman of Delaware County Council, Tom consistently prepared and approved balanced budgets that kept taxes low and ensured local government operated as efficiently as possible. In the face of state and federal funding cuts for county services and programs.

Tom has done the same in the Pennsylvania Senate, where he has worked to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in Harrisburg and ensure our tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly.  Recognizing that residents are already working hard to support themselves, Tom has been a vocal opponent of unnecessary income and sales tax increases.

This year, Tom worked with other legislators to develop and approve a new bipartisan state budget that increased spending below the rate of inflation without any new taxes or fees.  The budget increased state funding for PreK-12 education by $457 million. $60 million of that money will be used for a new safe schools initiative that McGarrigle has championed.

The legislature also increased funding for state-related universities, which will provide a relief for some college students and their families this year.  In response to the legislature’s funding, this summer Penn State announced it was freezing tuition for in-state residents for the first time in 49 years. Pitt quickly followed suit, announcing that it was freezing base tuition for in-state students for the first time in 43 years.  

 

Crime and Public Safety Issues

Tom has always been a leader in protecting our communities from crime and ensuring our first responders have the support they need to do their jobs safely. In the State Senate, Tom has brought the same innovation and creativity he used at the county level to introduce and win approval of statewide efforts to protect Pennsylvania residents.

 

School Safety

As a member of Delaware County Council, Tom spearheaded an initiative to equip every public and private school in Delaware County with state-of-the-art panic buttons that provide school administrators with a direct link to law enforcement if there is a threat to the safety of students. In the wake of continued violence in our schools, Tom introduced legislation to assist Pennsylvania’s schools and school district in the development of new school safety initiatives through both funding and other resources.  Elements of Tom’s legislation were ultimately included as part of the state budget that was approved in July 2018.

 

Helping Victims of Domestic Abuse

This year, Tom worked closely with fellow Delaware and Chester County State Senator Tom Killion, as well as other legislators to develop a package of bills that provide increased protections for domestic violence victims.  SB 502, drafted and introduced by Senator McGarrigle, extends Protection from Abuse (PFA) order by 90 days after the defendant is released from prison. Senate Bill 501, sponsored by Killion, requires individuals who are subject to a protection from abuse order to surrender all firearms within 48 hours to a law enforcement agency, a federally licensed firearms dealer, or their lawyer. Previously, individuals who were subject to a PFA had as much as 60 days to turn their weapons over to a third party, which could have included either a relative or neighbor.  Both bills were approved by the Pennsylvania Senate and are awaiting action by the House of Representatives.

McGarrigle also cosponsored Senate Bill 1011 that create a victims “Bill of Rights” and SB 449, which enables judges to use risk assessment tools when setting bail in domestic violence cases.   Another piece of legislation that Tom supported enables domestic violence victims who live in public housing to be relocated.

 

Addressing Gun Violence

Tom recognizes that far too many area residents and their families are victims of senseless gun violence.  That is why Senator McGarrigle worked to secure $1 million in the past two state budgets to fund the Delaware County Gun Violence Task Force. Administered by the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, this funding has enabled law enforcement to expand their efforts to get guns out of the hands of criminals and get perpetrators off the streets.   

 

Combatting the Opioid Epidemic

As a member of Delaware County Council, Tom worked closely with the District Attorney on the Delaware County Heroin Task Force.  The group worked to educate local residents, teachers, parents, and young people about the dangers of heroin and other drug abuse. He also worked closely with the DA’s office on a countywide prescription drug take-back initiative.  That effort helped prevent unused prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands, where they could potentially start a cycle of dependency and drug abuse.

 

Regulating Drug Recovery Houses

In the legislature, Tom introduced legislation to require the regulation and certification of drug recovery houses by the Commonwealth. Because of his longtime involvement in the effort to combat addiction, Tom recognized that many recovery houses do exceptional work in helping individuals on the road to recovery.  Unfortunately, the opioid crisis also prompted the opening of new facilities by disreputable individuals that took advantage of those seeking to combat their addiction. In many cases these "warehouses" provided little to no oversight or programs to help those fighting addiction.

Tom recognized that we need to ensure that all recovery facilities are truly providing the support, counseling, and help individuals need, not setting them up to fail.  Tom’s legislation was approved by the legislature earlier this year and signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf.

 

Reforming Government

Tom is a small business owner, and when Pennsylvania families say they're tired of bureaucrats in Washington and Harrisburg issuing rules, mandates and regulations, Tom is right there standing with them. It's the leadership in local municipalities -- the township commissioners and school board members -- that know what is best for their communities, and we need to stop taking power away from our own neighborhoods and sending it to Harrisburg. Tom has supported efforts to rein in out-of-control bureaucracy in Harrisburg and give more authority to local municipalities to make the decisions best for the families that live within them.