HARRISBURG, PA — Commonwealth Foundation president and CEO Matt Brouillette issued the following statement today in response to the General Assembly’s decision to make Conference Committee meetings on the state budget open to the public:
“The Commonwealth Foundation applauds the General Assembly for opening Conference Committee meetings on the state budget to the public and the press.
Until now, budget negotiations have been secretive, with the Conference Committee meeting only after legislative leaders and the Governor had privately struck a deal. By opening the Conference Committee to the public and press, lawmakers are giving taxpayers insight into negotiations and helping to prevent back-room deals.
The Commonwealth Foundation urges lawmakers to create full budget transparency, as other states have done, by passing legislation (such as that introduced by Sen. Pat Browne and Rep. Jim Christiana) that would create a website which would show taxpayers how every penny of their hard-earned money is being spent by state government. This will enable every citizen to be a well-informed watchdog and hold politicians accountable.
Open Conference Committee meetings is only the first, albeit an important, step toward the transparency Pennsylvanians deserve.”
The Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org) is an independent, non-profit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, PA.