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Public Statements

Issue Position: Government Reform

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

For democracy to work effectively citizens must have confidence and trust in their government and those elected to represent them. Tom Corbett is committed to rooting out corruption, waste, fraud and abuse from any source and will bring about a culture of change, reform and certainty to Harrisburg that will get us back on track and moving in the right direction. For far too long, state government has been letting down the hard working families of this great commonwealth, and it is time for change. From eliminating WAMS and legislative per diems to new budgeting practices and reducing the state vehicle fleet, Tom Corbett will provide open, transparent, accountable and trustworthy government that puts Pennsylvania taxpayers first.


To create real economic growth in Pennsylvania and put hard-working Pennsylvanians back to work, Tom Corbett believes that we must start from the foundation up and reform the government that guides our economy. Our government needs to be held to a higher standard to restore taxpayers' trust and confidence and to bring about good government at all levels and in every branch.

Tom Corbett is committed to rooting out corruption, waste, fraud and abuse from any source and will work to bring much needed change, reform and certainty to Harrisburg. For far too long, state government has let down the hard working families of this great Commonwealth, and it is time for change. Tom Corbett will provide an open, transparent, accountable and trustworthy government that finally puts Pennsylvania taxpayers first and gets the state back on track and moving in the right direction.

During his first week in office as Governor, Tom Corbett will introduce this comprehensive plan and begin the process of reforming Harrisburg and putting the "people" back in the "people's government." He will issue executive orders to immediately implement far-reaching reforms that do not require legislative action and will work swiftly with the General Assembly on any reforms needing legislative approval.

It is time for real change.

Reducing the Size & Cost of Government -- The size and cost of state government has grown out of control, and it is time to bring fiscal responsibility and accountability back to Pennsylvania. We must continue the forward momentum on streamlining state government by reducing the cost of how state government does business. Through technology upgrades, centralizing communications between agencies and lowering the overall administrative costs associated with running state government, we can return millions of dollars to Pennsylvanians. Tom Corbett has called for a 10 percent reduction in government administrative operations in all branches of government.

Transparency in State Government -- Pennsylvania taxpayers deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent. Passage of the Open Records Law was a historic event in Pennsylvania, and Tom Corbett believes we must go further. As Governor, he will implement 100 percent transparency throughout state government. Tom Corbett will enhance the current online contracts database to include all aspects of the state budget as well as all revenues and expenditures. This will allow taxpayers to easily search for financial information across all of state government.

In addition, Tom Corbett believes that Pennsylvanians have a right to know the potential fiscal impact of legislation. Building on the General Assembly's work to create a resource that provides objective information free from partisan influence, Tom Corbett will work with the General Assembly to ensure that a fiscal note is attached to each piece of legislation coming to the floor of either chamber for a vote so that members and Pennsylvania taxpayers can properly assess the value of the legislative change.

Elimination of WAMS & Discretionary Funds -- Pennsylvania taxpayers currently and unwillingly foot the bill for hundreds of millions of dollars for pet projects and political favors for Pennsylvania politicians. With little to no accountability and oversight, this spending has spiraled out of control and often remains hidden within state agency budgets. To help restore the public's trust in state government, Tom Corbett will eliminate the use of WAMS and discretionary funds and ensure that taxpayers' money is protected.

Elimination of State Government Paid Per Diems -- Tom Corbett supports eliminating per diems, which is money given to many members of the legislative, executive and judicial branches and across all of state government to cover expenses. Specifically for legislators, per diems are given to many members for each day they show up for work, with no receipts or documented expenses. Tom Corbett believes that this is in violation of the Pennsylvania State Constitution that clearly states, "The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compensation whatever whether for service upon committee or otherwise." Tom Corbett believes that the system should be changed to actual, audited and managed expenses that are capped and should be extended to all branches of government.

Reducing the State Automotive Fleet -- Tom Corbett believes that Pennsylvania should not be in the business of owning in excess of 16,000 state vehicles, which cost taxpayers $72 million per year. Tom Corbett has proposed saving Pennsylvania taxpayers up to $140 million over the next 10 years by reducing the state vehicle fleet by up to 20 percent.

Biennial Budgeting -- Twenty-one states currently use a two-year budget cycle, which provides more focused, long term analysis of the effectiveness of government programs and the use of tax dollars. It also provides agencies and programs that receive these funds the opportunity to better control costs and to develop more predictable budgets of their own.

Zero-Based / Performance-Based Budgeting -- Tom Corbett believes that state government should be held accountable and meet performance goals for Pennsylvania taxpayers. As Governor, Tom Corbett will require state departments and agencies to meet performance goals to determine their funding levels. Government programs must be held accountable and prove their effectiveness. If a program has failed to meet its stated goals over a multi-year period, then the funding will be eliminated.

Cap the General Assembly "Leadership Funds" -- While all three branches of government deserve certain safeguards to protect their independence and authority, Tom Corbett believes that the General Assembly should not be able to accrue a surplus that, as of late, is over $200 million. Tom Corbett would work with the General Assembly to cap the legislative surplus at a percentage of the House and Senate annual operating budgets. Tom Corbett believes that a limited surplus should keep the integrity and independence of the Legislature while dramatically limiting the amount of taxpayer money the General Assembly can hold in reserves.

Sunset & Audit of State Boards & Commissions -- Through Executive Order, Tom Corbett will conduct an immediate audit of all boards and commissions, not responsible for professional licensure, to ensure value, productivity and efficiency. Those boards and commissions found to be serving no purpose for the taxpayers will be sunset. For new boards and commissions, he will call for a finite life span -- up to no more than five years -- when created and will institute automatic sunset audits prior to the termination of a board and commission to determine its effectiveness.

Consolidation of Services -- Where and whenever possible, Tom Corbett will work with legislative leaders to consolidate any existing duplication of services and utilize a single point of service where possible and economically feasible. By consolidating services, state government will be more efficient and accountable to the taxpayers it serves.

Healthcare for Legislators -- While millions of Pennsylvanians, including public employees, make contributions in every paycheck to their healthcare, some of Pennsylvania's legislators do not. The members of the Pennsylvania Senate currently contribute to their healthcare plan, but the members of the House of Representatives do not. Tom Corbett believes that all elected officials, including legislative, executive and judicial should financially participate in their healthcare plans and reduce that burden on Pennsylvania taxpayers.

Ban Political Contributions and Gifts During Procurement Process -- Pennsylvania taxpayers must trust that their elected and appointed officials are making decisions about awarding government contracts based on price, quality and experience. That is why Tom Corbett will ban gifts and political contributions from individuals and PACs to members and employees of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government during the open bidding process when those individuals and PACs have an interest in a particular contract. The ban would also extend to a period of time after the awarding of contracts.

Tom Corbett also believes that all of state government -- including all agencies and legislative bodies-- should follow the same competitive procurement rules for contractor spending. Pennsylvania must level the playing field and ensure transparency during the procurement process.

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