My name is Joshua Young and I am running to become the Representative for the new 74th district in Chester County. I am currently in my ninth year as a Commissioner for Caln Township. In 2007, I was appointed by Governor Rendell to serve as a Trustee for Slippery Rock University. I became Chairman of the Council of Trustees in 2010 and served two terms as the youngest Chairman in the State System of Higher Education. For the past ten years I have help run my family’s auto repair and towing company, Young’s Garage, in West Chester. I am the candidate with real experience.
The decision to run for state representative comes from my work ethic in a third generation small business. My grandparents started with a $100 and a dream to build a company that would provide for their family. They worked hard, built their business and their way into the middle class. Imagine today a husband and wife with young children building a path into the middle class on a $100. For me, this campaign is about making sure everyone in my district and Pennsylvania has the opportunity to build that same dream my grandparents did.
There is so much work to be done in the 74th District. Coatesville was once the economic engine of Chester County, and with the collapse of the steel industry the surrounding towns and school district have been decimated by the loss of opportunity. We in Coatesville have a proud history. Lukens Steel was at one time the largest steel mill in the world and Rebecca Lukens was the first female industrialist in the United States. Coatesville, Downingtown, and Parkesburg help to build the 20th Century, and while the steel mills are gone, I want to help these communities build the 21st Century and restore our proper place as a regional economic power.
To restore our communities we must focus on economic growth, education, and equality. Caln Township has begun an economic growth plan that has started to yield results and could be a model for the business districts of the 74th district; however, this is paramount, it was done with community leaders involvement to control the process. Any plan must include the community or it will never take hold. We passed a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) tax incentive program. LERTA was established to allow local taxing authorities, in this case Caln Township, Coatesville Area School District and Chester County, provide a creative way to implement strategic financial opportunities for older communities that desire property owner driven revitalization and encourage this beneficial reinvestment, without a loss to the property tax base.
Education is the heart of rebuilding our communities. If we do not have good schools, teachers or administrators we are going to struggle to get business or new residents to move to our area. We need a fairer, more reasonable funding formula. The way we fund our school has created a two-tier system, districts that have and districts that do not. We must find a new way to fund our education system that does not rely so heavily on local property tax. We must also have a commitment from the state that education is one of our top priorities.
Every time the state does not follow through on meeting funding targets, the opportunity fades for students to meet achievement standards. Every time the state does not follow through on meeting funding targets, school districts have little recourse but to rely on raising local property taxes to fund the difference. We need a realistic plan that can help avert a crisis for students, schools and our communities.
Increasing the state’s share of education funding will create jobs and help school boards avoid raising property taxes, laying off teachers and staff, and cutting vital classes and services like the arts, tutoring, and summer school. New funding for public schools should be targeted toward early childhood education, gifted programs and teacher training.
Everybody’s plan to fix the ails of Pennsylvania includes taxing Marcellus Shale, but there are other sources that are being ignored.
Medicaid Expansion – A recent national study estimated that, for Pennsylvania, the Medicaid expansion could result in $878 million in savings in uncompensated care costs from 2013 to 2022. By increasing jobs and economic activity in the state, the Medicaid expansion can help increase state revenue. More jobs in the state mean that more people are employed, and it can also lead to higher family incomes.
Tobacco – Taxing smokeless tobacco will help save lives and bring in annual revenues to the tune of $40 million annually.
Delaware Loophole – The Delaware Loophole allows companies operating in Pennsylvania to move their profits tax-free to lower tax states like Delaware. This loophole means that 72% of profitable companies do not pay any corporate taxes to Pennsylvania. Closing corporate tax loopholes could help small businesses, help save jobs – and bring in $500 million or more annually.
The recent plan, by Senators Dinniman and Tomlinson, to allow West Chester University to secede from the State System of Higher Education is a plan doomed to fail. The plan would lead to larger tuition hikes for students already encumbered with excessive loan bills, a higher education system where the future is uncertain, and another broken promise to students of Pennsylvania. I will stipulate that the state system needs reform, what state system doesn’t, but dismantling the system is like selling your car because you need new tires.
Equality is a personal mission; we must pass House Bill 300 and marriage equality so that members of the LGBT community can begin to have rights we are currently denied. As equal rights have been extended to LGBT citizens in states throughout the country, Pennsylvania has remained an island in a sea of change. We are the only state in the northeastern that does not extend marriage rights in some form to LGBT couples.
I am a homeowner, a taxpayer, and a full-time mechanic at my family’s business. I understand the difficult issues facing working families. I know these are issues I will face every day as a legislator, and I know that they will affect the people I represent.
We need a leader that focuses on real economic issues, with job growth that helps everyone. We need a leader that ensures our children get a great education with fair and equitable school funding. I worked hard in Caln Township and Slippery Rock University for these very same issues. These are the opportunities that gave my family access to the American Dream. These are the opportunities with which I grew up, and which have allowed me to build a good life. I will fight to protect those opportunities for the next generation, while standing up to extend equality of opportunity to all Pennsylvanians.