Republican Burgerhoff faces incumbent Democratic state Rep. Kosierowski in 114th
Oct. 18—The race for the 114th state House District pits incumbent Democratic state Rep. Bridget Malloy Kosierowski, a longtime nurse before entering politics, against Republican handyman David Burgerhoff.
Kosierowski, of Waverly Twp., was elected to her first full term in 2020, after winning a special election for her seat in 2019, following the death of Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich.
She seeks another term representing the 114th District, which includes all of Green Ridge and North Scranton and parts of West Scranton and the Hill Section in Scranton; Benton, Greenfield, North Abington, Scott, South Abington and Waverly townships; and the boroughs of Clarks Green, Clarks Summit and Dickson City.
The Lackawanna County Republican Party's 114th district committee chose Burgerhoff in August to replace former candidate Colin D. Healey, who withdrew in July. Burgerhoff, a Scranton resident who operates a lawn care, maintenance and home cleanout business, lost his race for the 113th House District seat in 2016, and unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for a special election to fill the 113th House seat last year.
Reapportionment approved earlier this year put Burgerhoff in the 114th.
State legislators' base salary is $95,432.14 this year. Representatives serve two-year terms.
Burgerhoff says he accepts the results of the 2020 election, noting "the results are what they are" and many on the political left never accepted the results of the 2000 or 2016 presidential elections.
Kosierowski says she 100% accepts the election results and looks forward to "continuing to make sure we have safe elections and fair elections."
Burgerhoff says he's "100% pro-life," but would support legislation allowing abortion services up until 16 weeks of pregnancy as a compromise. He also supports exceptions in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk. The right to life is "unalienable," he says.
Kosierowski supports a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling this year overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion services nationwide, abruptly dismantled decades of settled law and put women's lives and health at risk, she says.
Burgerhoff doesn't support ballot drop-boxes or no excuse mail-in voting. He supports requiring a photo ID to vote and believes the state should fund IDs for people who cannot afford them. Kosierowski says she supports no-excuse mail-in voting and would oppose any legislation limiting access to the ballot box. She would also support legislation allowing for pre-canvassing of ballots, early voting and automatic voter registration. Registered Independents should be allowed to vote in primary elections and Election Day should be a national holiday, she says. She isn't necessarily against requiring a photo ID to vote, if the IDs are easy to obtain, but says it would depend on how the legislation is written.
Inflation, economy, jobs
Burgerhoff says government doesn't create jobs, but can create conditions conducive to job growth, including lowering Pennsylvania's corporate net income tax rate. To mitigate the impact of inflation, he suggests reducing or eliminating state personal income taxes for people making below a certain threshold.
Kosierowski also supports lowering the state's corporate net income tax rate to attract new businesses and industries bringing jobs. Other potential policies providing post-education training and affordable child care, for example, could help guarantee a workforce to meet job demand, she says. Increasing property tax rebates for qualifying Pennsylvanians could mitigate the impact of inflation, she says.
Burgerhoff acknowledges that different school districts have different needs. If elected, he says he will fight for more state funding for the Scranton School District. A school choice advocate, he would support a tuition voucher program providing state funding for qualifying students to attend private or religious schools.
Kosierowski says she's proud of the "historic investments" in education achieved in the 2022-23 state budget, which will deliver an additional $19.4 million in state funding to Lackawanna County school districts. The budget included a more than $500 million increase in basic education funding and $225 million increase for Level Up, providing targeted support to the 100 most in-need school districts. She wants cyber-charter school reform, which would adjust funding levels for cyber-charter schools to more accurately reflect their costs. Such reform would guarantee more transparency, she says.
Burgerhoff describes himself as a conservationist open to having real conversations about environmental policy. He supports fracking for natural gas extraction, if done responsibly, and a modest natural gas severance tax to generate revenue for education or state pension obligations. He also supports stiffer criminal penalties for companies and industries that intentionally pollute water and air through deceptive practices.
Kosierowski co-sponsored legislation aimed at transitioning the state to 100% renewable energy by 2050, though the bill hasn't been brought to the House floor. She supports Pennsylvania's continued participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate program to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. She also supports strict state Department of Environmental Protection oversight over all natural gas development, including fracking, and endorsed imposing a natural gas severance tax at a rate consistent with other gas-producing states. She wants more investments in green infrastructure.
Government ethics and transparency
Burgerhoff vows not to take a per-diem if elected and supports a ban on gifts for legislators. He opposes automatic cost of living adjustment (COLA) raises for legislators and judges and plans to give back 15% of his salary. All campaign donations and expenditures should be publicly disclosed, he says. He also supports term limits for legislators.
Kosierowski supports a gift ban and co-sponsored legislation to stop automatic COLA raises. She doesn't take per diems and wants to see more limits on how campaigns spend contributions. She also supports term limits for lawmakers.
Burgerhoff says gun owners should pursue proper safety training. He supports stiffer penalties for people whose negligence with guns hurt or kill others, but opposes further restrictions on the types of guns people can own. He supports requiring reporting of lost or stolen guns, but is skeptical of "red flag" laws, which he fears can deter people from seeking help for a mental health issue for fear of losing their gun rights.
Kosierowski wants to mandate reporting of lost or stolen guns and supports stricter background checks. She also supports limiting access to firearms by people convicted of domestic violence or deemed severely mentally ill, and restricting access to certain types of guns, including the AR-15 rifle.
Burgerhoff says the minimum wage is irrelevant because wages are naturally rising as employers compete for workers in the current labor market.
Kosierowski says the current hourly $7.25 minimum wage isn't a living wage and supports raising it to at least $12.
Recreational marijuana legalization
Burgerhoff supports making it easier to qualify for medical marijuana. He says the legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana seems inevitable, and supports doing so.
Kosierowski supports legalizing and taxing the sale of recreational marijuana.
Burgerhoff supports eliminating school property taxes and funding education by other revenue streams, as long as they provide sufficient funding. He suggests, for example, replacing the property tax with an infrastructure fee paid by every property owner, including nonprofits. The fees could be graduated based on a property's value, he says. He also suggests raising the state sales tax by 1% to generate revenue, and proposes a "rounding tax" of up to 4 cents on transactions, rounding the charge to the nearest tenth of a dollar, to help fund education. A $3.97 purchase would round to $4, with the state receiving $0.03. A $1.18 purchase would round to $1.20.
Kosierowski calls for school property tax reform, but says eliminating those taxes isn't realistic. Prior property tax elimination proposals would have amounted to tax breaks for major corporations, she says, noting property tax relief should be targeted at primary homesteads and family farms. She supports using revenue from a potential natural gas severance tax to fund education and provide property tax relief. She also supports closing the Delaware loophole that allows companies to transfer profits made in Pennsylvania to states where the income tax is lower or non-existent.
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