To the editor:
As candidate to for State Representative, I would like to announce my proposal for dedicating a portion of the Pennsylvania state tax revenue generated from casino table games to fund special education programs throughout the state.
Currently, our commonwealth taxes table games at 16 percent. Two percent of that tax goes to the local share fund, with the rest — 14 percent — going into the state’s “general fund.” Under my proposal, that 14 percent would instead be dedicated to funding special education programs throughout Pennsylvania. Under current projections, Pennsylvania can expect approximately $100 million annually in table game revenue.
Special education is a subject of major importance to many residents of Abington and Upper Dublin, and holds a special significance to me personally. My older brother, PJ, is profoundly deaf and throughout his childhood and later years my family relied on special education programs to help him overcome the challenges associated with learning under his disability. PJ is now pursuing a Ph.D. in political science at Temple University in Philadelphia; something, which my parents, siblings, and I are extremely proud of and all agree is an undeniable testament to the fact special education programs in Pennsylvania can and do work.
Although table game revenues would not be able to fully fund special education in Pennsylvania, my proposal would substantially assist in ensuring special education programs would not be subject to the harsh cuts which many of our state’s social programs face in these tough economic times.
I believe that as a society we are judged based on how we treat our most vulnerable citizens. If I am elected to serve as State Representative to the members of the 153rd legislative district, I will make it my mission to ensure every single child, including those afflicted with learning and physical or mental disabilities, have every single opportunity that my brother PJ had as a child. I can say, without a doubt, the world would benefit from more people just like my brother.
Nicholas W. Mattiacci