HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - In one week, the Pennsylvania Legislature will reconvene for the 2023-24 legislative session. State Representative Bob Merski (D-Erie) is looking forward to representing the people of Pennsylvania's 2nd District for a third time in Harrisburg. 

There were a lot of accomplishments throughout the 2021-22 session in Harrisburg, especially those that were a part of the state budget, like the Whole Home Repairs Program. 

“That legislation is going to directly impact Pennsylvanians, both landlords and homeowners, within those moderate-income guidelines to be able to repair their homes,” said Merski. 

The program was included in this year’s state budget, as were several other priorities for Merski and his party. 

“In that budget, we provided 17 million additional dollars for the Erie School District, which ultimately allowed them to exit financial watch and recovery,” said Merski. 

Legislation to lower the state’s nearly ten percent Corporate Net Income Tax (CNIT) was another big win for both parties and businesses across the commonwealth. 

“This will help businesses. Right now, we have one of the higher income tax rates for businesses in the country. By the end of this legislation, we will have one of the lowest in the country,” said Merski. “And I think that's a good thing for Pennsylvania businesses- ultimately putting Pennsylvanians back to work,” he added. 

He’s also looking ahead to an aggressive Democratic agenda in the next session, which he says will prioritize education and the needs of workers, veterans and seniors. 

“Those are the types of things that we know that when we invest money in people, that we get a return on our investment,” said Merski. 

Merski says he’s looking forward to working with the other side to pass meaningful legislation in Harrisburg, that will benefit the people of Erie. One bill he hopes to advance would provide flexibility in the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA). 

“Representative Harkins and I have a bill to allow counties to raise the COLA for retirees. Right now, they can have one of two options- either a freeze or raise it the rate of inflation. Our legislation would allow them to find somewhere in the middle so that people get some increase rather than just picking zero or the full amount,” said Merski. “For example, this past year, they'd have to give a six percent or seven percent raise in the cost of living, which almost prohibits anybody from getting a COLA. This would allow them to issue maybe a 2 percent or 3 percent raise from their pension board,” he added. 

Lawmakers reconvene in Harrisburg on Jan 3, 2023.