As Senator Dan Laughlin wrapped up his first year in office, his cost cutting measures and reduced expenditures resulted in savings exceeding more than $250,000 for Pennsylvania taxpayers in 2017.
These savings resulted primarily from a substantial reduction in office space costs, a paring of payroll expenses and his refusal to accept the traditional perks that come with the job as a state Senator.
“Being fiscally responsible is obviously part of who I am and what I intend to do in this office. Right now according to my calculations we have saved more than a quarter million dollars in taxpayers’ money compared to the previous senator,” said Senator Laughlin. “It came from a combination of the fact that I don’t take a vehicle. I buy my own gas. I have fewer staff and spend less money on my office space.”
Through a renegotiation of the lease for his Erie District Office, Senator Laughlin was able to secure a 31 percent reduction in the monthly rent for the space vacated by former Senator Sean Wiley. That represents a savings to taxpayers of $15,540 a year for the same location.
Taxpayers would have incurred a $12,285 cancellation penalty if the state had sought an early termination of the lease for the Griswold Plaza office. Additionally, the state would have essentially forfeited about $40,000 that was spent on renovations to the office during Senator Wiley’s term.
“Faced with this wasteful option, we renegotiated the lease to scale back the size of the office to a more appropriate and efficient space, which will save taxpayers more than $60,000 over a four-year period in rent expenses,” Senator Laughlin said. “There was no way that I would have taken over the location under the previous terms. This renegotiated lease is much more practical and fiscally responsible.”
Senator Laughlin said another $170,000 in savings comes from staff reductions and payroll savings in his Erie and Harrisburg offices. “There is no compromise on constituent or legislative services,” he said. “We are just working more effectively and more efficiently.”
In addition to those savings in staff and office costs, Senator Laughlin also refuses several of the traditional perks of office, such as those intended to cover the costs of his travel between Erie and Harrisburg – a commute of 315 miles each way.
“When I was campaigning, I had a list of what I wasn’t going to take. I said that I wouldn’t take any perks,” Senator Laughlin said. “I didn’t sign up for the pension. I didn’t take the (state-leased) vehicle. I don’t take mileage (reimbursement). I buy my own gas. Those are things that — in the big picture for our state budget — represent literally a drop in the bucket, but it sets the tone for how I intend to run this office.”
Contact: Matt Azeles firstname.lastname@example.org