On tax day, Governor Bob McDonnell signed four bills centered on instituting government reform in Virginia and saving taxpayer dollars. The Governor signed HB485, patroned by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, initiating a management and financial audit of a number of state agencies; HB42 and SB201, patroned by Delegate Glenn Oder and Senator Harry Blevins respectively, requiring a performance audit on VDOT; and, SB506, patroned by Senator Ralph Smith, banning the receipt of political contributions to the governor during the procurement process for contracts in excess of $5 million. McDonnell signed the bills in advance of announcing the membership of his government reform commission next week. The Governor's second Executive Order, issued on Inauguration day, established the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring, a comprehensive effort to look for all means by which government can be made more effective and efficient.
Speaking about today's bill signing, Governor McDonnell remarked, "Today, while citizens across the Commonwealth are filing their taxes, we once again note the importance of taking prudent steps to help Virginians keep more of their hard earned money. One of my top priorities is to institute real government reform, using innovation and privatization to deliver government services more efficiently and save taxpayers money. We began this effort before we even took office. Through the use of campaign funds and by cutting expenses, we saved taxpayers over $80,000 during the transition. We also established a government reform working group during the transition that helped us gather initial ideas so we could get started in the Governor's office immediately. I spoke of the importance of government reform during my Inaugural address and immediately after I took the oath of office I issued two important executive orders, the second of which established our Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring. Three of the four bills signed today will begin to implement promises I made during the campaign to conduct an audit of all state agencies and VDOT to find ways to save money and make government work better. We must provide better services to the people of Virginia at a cheaper cost. These audits will enable us to pinpoint areas where changes can be made and innovative, new ideas can be implemented."
McDonnell continued, "As a part of my government reform plan, I also campaigned on a promise to make government more transparent. The fourth piece of legislation signed today will prohibit the Governor or his PACs from receiving political contributions during the procurement process for contracts of $5 million or more. This is important. We must not allow even a perception that procurement decisions are based on anything but price, quality and experience."
Delegate Lingamfelter, patron of HB485, commented, "I have long advocated for management audits of Virginia's state agencies and I am pleased that we have a Governor who wholeheartedly agrees that this is necessary. We must work to find ways to save money and make government work more efficiently. The budget shortfall we faced this session demonstrates the need for government to return to its core functions and find new, cost efficient ways to provide services to the people of Virginia. Citizens deserve a frugal and efficient government. This bill will help us get there."
Delegate Oder, patron of HB42, also remarked, "Keeping in line with the Governor's plan to audit all state agencies, it's also essential that we conduct a performance audit on VDOT to determine if we're using state funds for the core purposes of relieving congestion and increasing mobility. Our transportation system is in need of improvements. This is one of the most important steps to finding ways to improve transportation in Virginia."
Senator Ralph Smith, patron of SB506, concluded, "We must work to make government more transparent and ensure taxpayers that we are providing them with the best services possible. Banning the receipt of political contributions to the Governor and cabinet members during the procurement process for large contracts mirrors the current ban on campaign contributions for legislators and the executive branch during the legislative session. It protects taxpayers and demonstrates to them that decisions are being made solely on merit and the services provided."
More information on this legislation and Executive Order #2 can be found below:
Executive Order #2: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/Issues/ExecutiveOrders/2010/EO-2.cfm