State Government
6:57 am
Tue July 16, 2013

State Lawmaker Says House Panel Should Focus on Poverty

A Republican state lawmaker says the next big focus of one House panel will be how poverty afflicts people across Pennsylvania and what can be done to make the problem better.

Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana), who chairs the House Majority Policy Committee, said he hopes his initiative is eye-opening to legislators on both sides of the aisle.

"Folks from the Republican perspective traditionally sometimes do not like to admit that poverty exists," Reed said, "and I think from the Democratic perspective folks are afraid to question whether we're spending money appropriately to combat poverty in Pennsylvania."

The announcement came the same day the House approved one last budget-related bill. The unusual voting session was required after the Senate stripped out a provision that suggested Republican leaders in both chambers favored legalization of payday loans. The non-binding language raised objections from GOP senators.

The short-term loans are controversial for their high interest rates, which some say end up hurting the people who take the loans. Proponents say legalizing the loans could help regulate a product that is already available in the commonwealth by phone and online.