State Senator Pat Browne, R-16, accompanied by his family and staff as well as all members of the Senate and House of Representatives who were elected last November, took the oath of office in the State Capitol today (January 6). With his re-election, Senator Browne begins his fourth term in the Senate.
Senator Browne was also elected by colleagues this past November to serve as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee for the 2015-16 Legislative Session.
“It has been a privilege serving the citizens of the 16th District and I look forward to continuing to represent them for another four years,” Senator Browne said. “I sincerely appreciate the support of my colleagues and look forward to working as part of the Senate leadership team to promote a legislative agenda that supports Pennsylvania’s working families, businesses and taxpayers and that promotes real economic development and job creation.”
The Appropriations Committee reviews all legislation for its fiscal impact and plays a crucial role in developing the state budget each year. Senator Browne served in a leadership role for Senate Republicans as Majority Caucus Whip for the 2011-12 and 2013-14 Legislative Sessions. Prior to that, he chaired the Senate Finance Committee, the panel with the primary role of reviewing legislation affecting Pennsylvania’s tax codes, and served as Majority Caucus Administrator.
“With the serious financial challenges facing the Commonwealth, we have a responsibility to ensure that state spending is practical and prudent with priority given to vital and necessary programs with proven records of success,” Senator Browne said. “We must be cautious not to place further burdens on our taxpayers and businesses. We should be focused on making Pennsylvania more competitive and more attractive for economic development and growth.”
Currently, Senator Browne Co-Chairs the Basic Education Funding Commission, which is charged with developing a fair system for distributing state money to local school districts. He previously served as Co-Chair of the Special Education Funding Commission, which developed a new formula for distributing state funding for special education in excess of 2010-11 levels that was adopted and signed into law.
Senator Browne co-founded and is Co-Chairman of both the Early Childhood Education Caucus and the Legislative Arts and Culture Caucus. He serves as a board member of the Public Employee Retirement Commission, the Public School Employees’ Retirement System board, the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Senator Browne was first elected to the Senate following a special election in April 2005 and was re-elected in 2006, 2010 and 2014. Prior to joining the Senate, Senator Browne represented the 131st District in the state House of Representatives for 10 years.
He is the author of numerous state laws and drafted key portions of Act 120 of 2010 which fundamentally reformed Pennsylvania’s public pension systems and created an independent fiscal office to monitor state spending and the budget process. Senator Browne was instrumental in developing the Pennsylvania Web Accountability and Transparency (PennWATCH) Act, which expanded the public’s access to state spending records by creating and maintaining a searchable, database-driven budget website.
Senator Browne also crafted the one-of-a-kind, 130-acre Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) to help revitalize and expand the tax base of the then financially-struggling city of Allentown by permitting tax revenues – except for property taxes – generated by this new development to be put back into projects within the zone to continue and expand the redevelopment efforts. The NIZ has already served as a model for economic development in other distressed areas – cities, boroughs and townships – throughout the Commonwealth with the creation of the City Revitalization and Improvement Zones (CRIZ) which will afford a similar tax financing program to smaller cities in Pennsylvania.
Senator Browne holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from Temple University. Prior to his legislative service, he was employed with the accounting firms of Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse as a tax manager and senior tax associate, respectively. In addition to being a CPA, he is also a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Born and raised in Allentown, Senator Browne attended Allentown Central Catholic High School. He resides in Allentown with his wife, Heather, and son, Alex.
Contact: Matt Moyer (610) 366-2327