HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today released his top points for government reform, following through on his commitment to root out waste and fraud, while returning fiscal responsibility and accountability back to Pennsylvania.
"I am committed to provide an open, transparent, accountable and trustworthy government that puts our taxpayers first and gets the commonwealth back on track,'' Corbett said.
"We are facing a multi-billion dollar deficit and we must do something about it,'' Corbett said. "I made a commitment to the people of Pennsylvania that I would reform state government, and I intend to make good on that commitment starting today.''
At the top of his list is changing to a biennial budget process. Across the nation, 20 other states already use a two-year budget cycle, which Corbett believes will provide a more focused, long-term analysis of the effectiveness of government programs and the use of tax dollars.
It would also provide agencies and programs the opportunity to better control costs and develop more predictable budgets of their own.
Earlier today, two lawmakers, Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, and Sen. Mike Brubaker, R-Lancaster, introduced legislation to amend Pennsylvania's constitution to a biennial budget system. Corbett supports that action.
Corbett's other top measures for government reform include:
Transparency in State Government
Corbett is directing the Office of Administration and Department of General Services to create an ongoing joint task force with the General Assembly to examine ways to institute broader transparency and make information available online more accessible.
The current online database will be enhanced to include all aspects of the state budget as well as all revenues and expenditures, allowing taxpayers to easily search for financial information across all of state government, including contracts.
Pennsylvanians have a right to know the potential fiscal impact of proposed legislation. Corbett will work with the General Assembly to ensure that accurate fiscal notes are attached to each piece of legislation coming to the floor of either chamber for a vote. That way, members of the House and Senate, as well as Pennsylvania taxpayers, can properly assess the value of each legislative change.
Working with his cabinet members, Corbett will establish performance goals, review them annually and require state departments and agencies to meet them. Funding for any program that has failed to meet its stated goals over a multi-year period will be reviewed.
Consolidation of Services
Corbett is directing the Office of Administration and Department of General Services to work with all state agencies to consolidate services, especially information technology and administrative office functions, to eliminate waste and make government more efficient.
In addition, Corbett is requesting legislative leaders and members of the judiciary to do the same where possible and economically feasible.
One example could be the sharing of computer and printing services between departments.
Sunset and Audit of State Boards and Commissions
Governor Corbett is issuing an executive order to establish a task force to immediately review all of the commonwealth's boards and commissions. The panel will have one year to conduct its work and submit a report.
Boards and commissions found to be inactive or ineffective will be sunset. For new boards, commissions, the commonwealth will institute a five-year life span.
Reducing the Size & Cost of Government
Corbett is setting a goal to streamline state government by reducing the cost of how it does business by 10 percent during his four-year term in office in all branches of government.
Additionally, Corbett wants to centralize communications between agencies, upgrading technology and lowering costs, and he is encouraging members of the judicial and legislative branches to do the same.
As a first step toward this reduction, Corbett is directing the Department of General Services to conduct an immediate audit of the state's vehicles under the governor's jurisdiction – including a review of any leases and identifying the number of state-owned vehicles. The audit is to be completed within 90 days.
Ban Gifts during the Procurement Process
Corbett is directing the Office of Administration and Department of General Services to conduct an immediate review of all policies that govern gifts during the purchasing process and bidding for state contracts.
The governor is asking that the review be completed within 90 days and that the Department of General Services continue to work to strengthen existing policies to ban them.
Elimination of WAMs and Discretionary Funds
Corbett will eliminate the use of discretionary funds, known as walking around money or WAMs, which are used to finance pet projects.
Elimination of per Diems for State Employees
Corbett is directing the Office of Administration to require state employees under his jurisdiction to provide receipts for travel, food and lodging. The governor ordered an updated policy for employees be completed within 90 days.
The governor also encouraged members of the legislature and judiciary to take similar steps toward better management of taxpayers' money.
Reduce Legislative Reserves
Corbett believes that the General Assembly should limit the amount of taxpayer money which is held in reserve. This will be a topic of negotiation during the budget process.
Health Insurance Contributions
Corbett is encouraging the members of the legislature to make the same financial contribution as other state employees for the health insurance they receive.
Media contact: Kevin Harley, 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor