Monday, August 13, 2012

Simmons: Voters Should Have More Say Over Government Debt

Charlie Dent commends Simmons
It's amazing what you can learn during, of all things, a pig roast. I crashed one on Saturday. I invaded Living Memorial Park in Coopersburg, where State Rep. Justin Simmons was having a fundraiser.

I learned two things.

First and foremost, Justin Simmons is for real. He may be a freshman legislator, but has managed to get more accomplished in his first term than Bob Casey has done in six years as a U.S. Senator.

Simmons, incidentally, is the LV legislator who broke the legislative logjam that resulted in a serious dispute between Allentown and surrounding municipalities over the diversion of their local taxes to fund a hockey arena. His common-sense solution was to listen to these municipalities and remove the local tax grab. For that alone, he deserves re-election.

But Simmons, unlike most legislators, has actually been legislating, too!

I'm not talking about yet another resolution naming some park or post office after Harry Trexler. I'm talking real, honest-to-goodness, legislation. Pig roast stuff. Topics like giving voters more say over government borrowing. If a municipality actually wants to increase its debt limit, shouldn't voters have the final say? Especially in a home rule municipality?

Former Lehigh County Comm'r Dean Browning thinks so. Before leaving office, he wanted to enact precisely that kind of legislation. But a state law, known as the Debt Act, prevented him. So Browning turned to the kid.

Simmons actually managed to push a bill through the House, where it passed by a vote of 186-2. It will give home rule voters a say.

One of those No votes comes from lameduck Jennifer Mann.

Although the Senate will only meet for nine days in September, Simmons has been assured that they'll approve the bill next month.

So what's the second thing I learned?

We put too much milk in everything, even frickin' pigs. I was unable to eat anything but the baked beans, the sliced tomatoes and pickles. On the bright side, I had a methane-fueled bike ride back to Nazareth.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

um, justin may be a good kid, but the compromise enacted had been suggested by many folks independant of simmons. he may have promoted it, but, like a bastard child, there are many who could claim parentage.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Um, I know quite a bit about what went down and how it went down on the NIZ, and Simmons played a lead role. Without him, I question whether it would have happened at all.

Anonymous said...



Bernie,

This Legislator has all the answers, JUST like McCarthy!

Anonymous said...

But on the really bright side you looked like a hunk of burng luv.

Anonymous said...

These guys both look great in blue.

Anonymous said...

Who is Bob Casey?

Anonymous said...

Myself and my friends will be voting for Simmons..

Anonymous said...

A Vote for Simmons. Me Too.

Anonymous said...

Cheap shot at Casey, could have easily said do nothing Dent as well!

Anonymous said...

The debt limit bill is good, but the NIZ "compromise" shouldn't be listed as a success.

All it did was allow an illegal law that would have been beaten in court to remain in effect. While it might benefit a select few developers, the NIZ is a noose around the necks of Allentown residents, who Simmons supposedly represents.

All the compromise did was protect the wealthy few from having their government-funded get-rich(er)-quick scheme scrutinized by the courts. I don't know what Simmons' finance reports say, but I'd check for contributions from those benefitting from the illegal NIZ.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Not a cheap shot at all. It is very accurate, and the link to The Courier Times is there to see. In six years, he has failed to produce one piece of legislation. Hey, that's not even a knock. As the author points out, it might even be a plus for those who believe we already have too many laws.

As for Dent, I hate to disappoint you, but he has managed to sponsor several pieces of substantive legislation. These include the Synthetic Drug Control Act, aimed at bath salts. That one passed the House.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:11, I'll list the NIZ compromise as a success bc it resolved the concerns brought by the litigation aimed at the NIZ. According to Pawlowski the NIZ will transform Allentown. Whether the NIZ itself will ultimately trickle down to benefit Allentown's residents remains to be seen, but they are the ones who have voted for him and his rubber stamps on Council.

Anonymous said...



Bernie,

Bath Salt Legislation..What Next...illegal to have a Toby tree in your yard!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ask the local police how useless that legislation is, asshole. Those bath salts have been killing people.

Anonymous said...

Government has no absolutely no business building RECORD-SMASHING Palaces of Sport.

It's definitely the principle.

Justin Spending Record Amounts Of Other People's Money On Minor League Ice Hockey Rinks just does not impress me.

Another deal-making Compromiser ready and willing to "cross the isle"? Wow! What did the Compromise of 1820 bring? What did the Compromise of 1840 bring?

Sometimes, there is no compromise. There is no in-between. Only right and wrong.

GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN
Democrat Presidential Candidate

Anonymous said...



They can have my MR. BUBBLE, when they take it from "my dead cold fingers".

Anonymous said...

Justin didn't vote to build the hockey arena that was done before he was in office. What he did do was keep the rest of us from being flushed down Pawloski's hole on Hamilton St.

Anonymous said...

What Courier Times link?

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:59, My reference to Senator Casey, in the body of my post, contains the link.

Anonymous said...

I would have preferred the Browne Hole ...

... as Mr. Molovinsky has pointed out with the historical example of 9th and Hamilton Streets ...

... something OTHER than a minor league hockey rink costing TWICE the average of what other comparable minor league hockey rinks recently built could be found to fill Browne's Hole.

Sincerely,

BOZO STUCK PUSHING PALACE OF SPORT BONDS

Anonymous said...

PS - My wife needs a job.

B.S.P.P.S.B.

;-)

Anonymous said...

All Simmons did was guarantee his Union buddies will get paid.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Anonymous said...

And in the process flushed Allentown taxpayers down the hole. The courts were their last hope.

Justin still represents them. What municipality is next when it's politically expedient to do so?

Anonymous said...



I was told that Simmons and Deely are good friends, Deely is on the Ballot to take the Ballot position only.

Anonymous said...

Think that you may be giving Justin too much credit regarding the NIZ. Not sure what he solved by voting for the compromise. That was easy. What he should have done was correct the NIZ legislation problems while he had a chance, ie no limits to NIZ benefits, potential for distortion of the commercial real estate market, and no requirement for creation of NEW jobs.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:45,

When we think the the time is right for you to know, we will to tell you what you need to know at that point in time.

Just keep reading The Morning Call and thank you for your continued patronage of that fine, non-partisan newspaper.

Sincerely,

LEHIGH VALLEY CHAIR,
PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL DEMOCRAT PARTY

Anonymous said...

Almost 20% of the comments are from the troll Rolf.... he loves to troll.

Anonymous said...

Your most telling comment is that he'll work 9 days in harrisburg in September..Apparently Mr. Simmons still hasn't changed the good old boys schedule..Work one day , get 5 off..Gotta love it!!!

Anonymous said...

You are right!

The other thing learned is that the vote has already occurred!

More of the same from Harrisburg..

Anonymous said...

Perspective on the ability to pass laws


In almost 13 years as a congressman, Ryan has proposed just two bills that have passed and become law, one of which involved renaming a post office in his district. It’s a low number by any standard, but particularly for a chairman of the powerful Budget Committee.

Anonymous said...

A link to the Ryan story

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/12/paul-ryan-bills_n_1769816.html

Anonymous said...

Simmons did vote to build the Arena!

He back- peddle when it became public.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are not entirely accurate. In 2009, when the NIZ was first adopted, Simmons was not a member of the House. It was part of the budget and was slipped in at the last minute by Senator Browne. Democrats supported the '09 budget bc it came from a Democratic governor.

In 2011, the NIZ was amended to include a Sunset provision of 30 years. Simmons was in the House and supported the amendment bc it was part of the Republican budget.

When Simmons became aware of the details of the EIT tax grab, and that it was perpetual, he began to pressure Browne to agree to a new amendment, removing it He was joined by his Republican colleagues in the LV. I am not sure if the Ds participated in the pressure, but the entire LV delegation voted for this amendment.

They all deserve credit, but Simmons got the ball rolling.

Deely hid from the issue bc he did not want to offend the unions.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Fair criticism of Ryan. Fair criticism of Casey.

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:06, That is not Simmons' schedule. It is not even the House schedule. It is the Senate schedule.

Uncle Remus said...

What is really cool is that almost all the state reps are whites.

Not many gooks, slant heads , spics,ricans or other "no speaky the englash" lateenos, blacks, ragheads or kilt wearing fools from norco. Also notice that we may have a drunk or two but no slutty so called nurses in cheap and tacky heels.

So we let a couple of jews in that think that there was a hollycost before they were even born. Obviously an unproven urban legend.

Then there are a few catholicers, but what the hell someone has to take care of the kiddies. They really like those pages.

Not many ass-ians or
mushlems.Nobody cares what they try to think about anyway. Wonder what those human time bombs keep under those silly skirts they were on their pointed heads. Is that where they keep the supposed virgins they get when they blow their dumb asses up?

The bottom line is any rep that is not white is just not pure All other races votes even if they are semi intelligent to figure out what they are voting for or against just doesn't matter.

Remember my friends or enemies - who cares

"IF YOU AIN"T WHITE - YOU AIN"T RIGHT"

Anonymous said...

10:10

Are you serious? That is the most off topic racist rant I think I have ever seen. How did you get enough time away from all of the cross burnings to write that?

Anonymous said...

Ladies and gentlemen..... here is Rolf oeler!!

Anonymous said...

I am impressed. Imagine the incredible intellectual acumen of Justin Simmons to effect this bipartisan strategic move to save the arena. All the while selflessly opening his pockets to the gratuitous campaign donations of JP Really and the band aid boys. The whole Valley is drunk with optimism. Like a bunch of adolescents about to have sex for the first time. Truly Armagedon is about to befall us.

Anonymous said...

Simmons wins, Deely goes back to the pipe. Hahn wins, Emrick goes back to teaching, Samuelson bitch slaps whoever, Brennan celebrates a win by consuming 3 kegs, Scavelli wins ina prelude to moving up to senate next year, Freeman and a couple other do-nothings win by default. Is this close to your tally?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Emrick should win. I like Joe Cap and this is my district, but (1) he has no money; (2) he is not running hard, knocking on doors; (3) has, in the opinion of some Bangor Boro Council members, been running against them and not Emrick.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I am impressed. Imagine the incredible intellectual acumen of Justin Simmons to effect this bipartisan strategic move to save the arena. All the while selflessly opening his pockets to the gratuitous campaign donations of JP Really and the band aid boys"

First of all, it is JB Reilly, not JP Reilly. Second, Reilly lives in Simmons' district and they are both Rs. Third, Simmons did take $ from him, and then worked against Reilly's interest and to remove the EIT from the NIZ, so the legal bribe got him nowhere.

Canary_In_Coalmine said...

Bernie, I respect and appreciate what you do with your blog. But I have to wonder why you allow the comments of Uncle Remus above. Do you feel that off-topic racist rants are appropriate for a forum which addresses important public issues? How would you explain your decision to allow such awful comments to your grandson? Not trying to be a jerk here, I'm truly puzzled.

Anonymous said...

Joe Cap being against the council won't hurt him, but you liking him is the kiss of death!

Bernie O'Hare said...

11:02, I have allowed the comments bc he is trying to show how absurd these racist comments are by making totally racist remarks. But it has reached the point now where the point has been made and I will be deleting additional entries.

Bernie O'Hare said...

11:35, Then you agree that Emrick will win.

Uncle Remus said...

I was joking?

Canary_In_Coalmine said...

Bernie - thanks. If he truly was joking, I struggle to see any punchline or discernible satirical point. I'm sure there are better ways for Uncle Remus to show the absurdity of racism - ways that don't involve sullying your blog with lots of vile racial epithets.

ironpigpen said...

Anon 11:45,

Go fuck yourself.

ROLF OELER

ironpigpen said...

Anon 3:29,

You can go fuck yourself, too.

ROLF OELER

ironpigpen said...

You two clowns bring your Racist bullshit all day long.

All day long.

http://lvironpigs.wordpress.com

Bring it here, if you like ...

ironpigpen said...

www.goironpigs.com

or there ... just bring your Racist bullshit anytime you like.

ROLF OELER

Anonymous said...



Bernie,

In other words, Rep. Simmons voted to approve the NIZ Legislation when he voted for the Republican budget.

Anonymous said...

Rolf you are a twat

Onward christen soldiers...... said...

CiC obviously has uptight anal repression. take a laxative and relax baby.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Remus said..

I can't help myself. I love German history.

Anonymous said...



Plashke is the BRAINS in the Office.