Merski bills would cut government spending, boost transparency, fight blight

Other measures would help seniors, military families

ERIE, Feb. 2 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, is garnering support for a slate of bills designed to improve government efficiency and accountability, fight blight and help seniors and military families.

“We should always be looking for ways to make government run more efficiently, and one way we can do that is through legislation that reduces unnecessary spending, eliminates waste and increases accountability,” Merski said. “My bills would help do that by reducing costs to municipalities for some items, making sure government operations are as transparent as possible and studying where money is going.”

Merski said he is currently seeking co-sponsorship of bills that would: 

  • Create a program for selling used state police pursuit vehicles directly to local and regional police departments at a fixed price prior to any public auction.
  • Require the state to conduct a new cost-benefit analysis to determine whether an early-retirement proposal for some state pension plan participants would help save costs.
  • Require political subdivisions and municipal authorities to maintain publicly accessible websites with contact and other information to make their operations more open and accessible.
  • Establish a grant program that would make it easier for municipalities to enforce code violations and fight blight.

Merski said several other bills would help seniors on fixed incomes by excluding Social Security cost-of-living increases for purposes of qualifying for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, exempt non-military spouses of active-duty military from state and local income taxes, and better protect victims of human trafficking.