Will Wolf ‘Walk the Walk’ on ‘Government That Works’?
Government Transparency Bill Awaits Governor’s Signature
April 6, 2016, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Last month, Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled his “Government that Works” plan to reform government contracting and increase transparency. Now, the state Legislature has given Wolf a chance to back up these words with action.
Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 644, which would empower the Independent Fiscal Office to estimate government union contract costs before the contracts are ratified. The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.
“We congratulate SB 644 sponsor Sen. Mike Folmer for championing this vital transparency reform,” commented Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. “Governor Wolf now has the opportunity to walk the walk on government transparency and accountability reforms.”
Wolf is negotiating contracts worth a combined $3.6 billion with 18 government unions, several of which donated millions of dollars to his election campaign. These contracts cover salary and benefits for state workers as well as special union privileges like release time and automatic payroll deduction for campaign contributions.
“If the governor is serious about ending conflicts of interest and fostering ‘government that works,’ he’ll sign this bill and shine light on contract costs,” Brouillette said.
Last year, taxpayers learned about $23 million in additional costs in a one-year contract with AFSCME only after the contract was finalized. Since 2000, average government worker benefit costs tripled from $12,732 to nearly $39,000. Total compensation per employee reached an average of nearly $93,000 in 2014-15.
Matthew Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an interview.
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