During the past year, Senator Eichelberger spent a lot of time looking at the financial problems affecting municipalities all over the state. Efforts to address those problems will be a big part of the year ahead.
In his annual review of the legislative session that wrapped up in December, the 30th District Senator pointed to hearings he presided over as Chairman of the Senate's Local Government Committee. It's Eichelberger's view that current state law encourages communities like Altoona to get into financial trouble.
The Republican Senator says under Act 47, which spells out the assistance programs for distressed municipalities, communities face a number of financial challenges that include unfunded municipal pensions, too much tax exempt property, and an arbitration system that he says favors labor unions.
Attempting to correct some of those problems, and looking for ways to help municipalities deal with a distressed status is a key reason Eichelberger has decided to continue to serve as Chairman of the local Government Committee. In addition to his committee work, Eichleberger says he will be working on a number of legislative initiatives that including protection for large animals kept as pets and a push for legislative term limits. He will also be paying close attention to the Governor's Budget Address and efforts to control state spending.