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In this Email Update:
Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season
As we begin to wrap up this holiday season with another year soon behind us, I’d like to take this time to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!
Saving taxpayer dollars by closing empty state offices
A report Senator Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) and I requested highlights flaws in the state’s management of state-owned and leased office space and outlines ways the state could streamline its real estate portfolio and save millions of dollars.
We have been requesting answers from the Department of General Services to understand the scope of the problem of unused office space across the state after seeing empty floors of state-owned office space in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
It is a gigantic waste of tax dollars when we have empty floors in state-owned office buildings, yet the state is paying to lease properties right across the street.
We will be introducing legislation requiring all state executive and independent agencies to report their space usage to the Department of General Services. The department will then be required to provide the complete documentation to the state Senate and House of Representatives each year on the number of empty state offices and its actions to reduce the amount of real estate utilized by all state agencies.
Read more about our efforts to save YOUR tax dollars here.
The power of school districts to raise taxes
While school boards in Pennsylvania have a significant amount of authority when it comes to spending and taxes, problems are inevitable when school districts decide to increase local taxes at a soaring level without voter approval, therefore pitting taxpayers against their district.
A perfect illustration of this battle is between Montgomery County’s Lower Merion School District and its taxpayers, which arose in February of this year when a resident and other individuals filed a class action law suit against the school district for raising local taxes above the set limit of 2.4 percent as specified under Act 1 Taxpayer Relief Act of 2006.
In this legal battle, the local court in August ruled that the Lower Merion School Board did not have the ability to raise its taxes above the set limit as prescribed by law. Members of the school board appealed this ruling and the Commonwealth Court recently heard the arguments from both sides last week in Harrisburg.
Local residents are upset that the school district is taking a significant amount of taxpayer money, despite the fact that the district has an adequate amount of funding in their reserve.
Read more about this story here.