Senator Eichelberger Reviews 2016 Record, Previews Goals for 2017

Article posted on January 10, 2017

HOLLIDAYSBURG (January 10, 2017) – Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. (R-Blair) today released his annual report, giving a full accounting of his expenditures for 2016, recapping successes from the past legislative year, and previewing his goals for the year ahead.

“The people of the 30th District deserve nothing less than honest and transparent government,” said Senator Eichelberger. “I look forward to printing, in black and white, how much money I have been able to save every year by keeping operational costs low and spending at a minimum. It also proves that my staff and I can provide outstanding services while staying well below the full budget allotted to each senator.”

Senator Eichelberger traveled about 23,232 miles on Senate business in 2016, attending 57 session days, 329 meetings in Harrisburg, 284 events and meetings in the district, and 63 meetings and events other places around the Commonwealth. He did not request reimbursement for approximately $6,409 of eligible in-district mileage (by annually declining reimbursement since taking office, he has saved taxpayers almost $60,000). He also did not request reimbursement for $7,024 of eligible per diem expenses in 2016. For the ninth straight year, Senator Eichelberger returned his Cost of Living Adjustment.

2016 Year End Full Report

Senator Eichelberger continued to Chair the Senate Finance Committee. Under his leadership, the Committee reviewed legislation with a focus on assessing government performance, measuring the value of state expenditures, and researching methods for state programs to save money. During the 2016-17 budget hearings, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Eichelberger questioned department secretaries who testified how their department could cut costs, instead of simply requesting additional funding. Also, for the first time, the Appropriations Committee formed subcommittees to further scrutinize what some of the departments planned to do with the proposed funding. Senator Eichelberger was selected to chair one of those subcommittees.

“I was fortunate to be at the forefront of several critical budgetary inquiries. The taxpayers have to know how the state is spending their money. I’ve been doing everything I can to push our departments and agencies to become more efficient and to find ways to save money, yet still effectively serve our citizens,” said Senator Eichelberger. “We were able to prevent the governor from getting a budget with broad-based taxes, although I still did not approve of certain aspects of the final product.”

In addition to Finance and Appropriations, Senator Eichelberger remained as the appointed Vice Chair of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee and continued to serve on the Education, Judiciary, and Local Government committees in 2016.

Things will be a little different, however, as the new legislative session gets underway. Senator Eichelberger has been appointed to the prestigious position of Chair of the Senate Education Committee. That means he will no longer Chair the Senate Finance Committee.

“While I really appreciated and enjoyed my time as the Finance Chair,” said Senator Eichelberger, “I’ve already jumped into my new role, and many of my core goals are the same: identifying programs that work and reducing waste, controlling costs and providing ways to address budgetary issues, and introducing something that has been sorely lacking – accountability.”

Senator Eichelberger says educational opportunities in the state can be greatly improved by providing more parental involvement, more accurate measuring of teacher/school performance, and holding hearings to bring transparency to the system.

“Protecting the taxpayer will always be one of my top priorities, but in this case, giving our kids the best chance to succeed takes precedent,” said Senator Eichelberger.

Also in the new session, among other legislation, Senator Eichelberger intends to aggressively pursue: complete pension reform on both the state and local levels; fair arbitration and collective bargaining processes for uniformed municipal employees; better animal cruelty protection, especially for large animals like horses; regulations for the involvement of lobbyists in political campaigns; and the ability for the Fish & Boat Commission to set its own fees.

For additional information, please contact Patrick Schurr, Executive Assistant, at 1-866-509-EICH (3424) or pschurr@pasen.gov.

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