My predecessor, the late Congressman. Flo Fabrizzo said to me, “Good government is consensus and compromise.” In a world where blind ideology has overtaken common sense in many areas of politics, when I vote, I always go to Harrisburg Thinking of his wise words, and you, the people of Erie County. It was this experience working for Erie across the aisle that made me the perfect candidate to represent the Second Legislative District.
I serve schools, businesses, seniors, families and the Erie area. Every school district saw an increase in education funding last year, which has helped local school boards keep property tax increases low. The Erie School District received $17 million in state funding to enable them to successfully exit Financial Watch. Additionally, the Erie, Iroquois, and Harbour Creek School Districts received Readiness Learning Grants this year to help our youngest learners master readiness skills. I fought for this funding and will continue to fight for more state funding for schools to ease the tax burden on local owners.
My wife and I both work and have young children. I understand how difficult it is for families today. That’s why I voted for the Pennsylvania Family Child Tax Credit. This will help working families with childcare needs, allowing them to return to work and know their children are being properly cared for. I am a co-sponsor of the PA Opportunity Program, which aims to make a one-time payment of $2,000 to every working class in Pennsylvania to help offset rising inflation. It’s in a rainy day fund, but for many Pennsylvanians, it’s raining right now. I voted for our seniors to increase property tax/rent rebate reimbursement this year, and I initiated legislation to raise income thresholds for the programs seniors use most, such as property tax/rent rebates, the PACE prescription drug program, and reduce seniors’ Car registration fee. I believe we should use this money to give back to Pennsylvanians and provide relief to seniors and families when they need it most.
I have always been an advocate for local small businesses and have worked hard to support them as they grow and prosper. At the Mayor’s Business Roundtable, I visited more than 50 businesses in the region and heard their needs and concerns. One thing that keeps popping up in these conversations is Pennsylvania’s high net corporate income tax rate. I am proud to vote to lower taxes on Pennsylvania businesses, from 9.9% to 8.9% next year, and eventually to 4.9%, which will make our business environment more competitive in retaining and attracting jobs. I work with the delegation to bring more money back to Yili to support the business. These investments, such as necessary renovations at UPMC Park, keep the Erie Sea Wolves in our community, expand jobs at Berry Plastics and elsewhere, and improve transportation to support business. When the business is strong, Yili is strong.
While the redistricting has changed the boundaries of the Second District, what has not changed is my commitment to you. I will continue to fight for working people, including the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain for fair wages and benefits. I will continue to fight for fair funding for our schools and tax breaks for working class and seniors. I assure you that blind ideology will never be my way of legislating. I believe we are Americans first and foremost and my colleagues across from me are not my enemies, even if we disagree with each other. My father, retired Erie County Sheriff Bob Merski, gave me advice early in my first term. He said, “Make a decision that you can put your head on your pillow at night and have a clear conscience.” Those are the values that I carry with me on behalf of you in the Capitol. It has been an honor to serve you, and I respectfully request your vote. The best is yet to come!
Congressman. Democrat Bob Merski is seeking re-election to the second legislature in the state House of Representatives.