In an effort to improve the state’s finances, the Wolf Administration commissioned a government efficiency review—an idea CF included in a recent policy brief, which focused on driving down the costs of state government.
McKinsey & Company, the consulting management firm hired to conduct the review, produced a considerable number of recommendations to reduce the deficit by more than $1.3 billion in 2017-18. Gov. Wolf incorporated some of the recommendations into his budget proposal, while leaving others out and proposing a $1 billion tax hike.
Consolidating state police barracks, contracting out services in veteran’s homes, and cutting agency inspection costs were included in the report, but missing from the governor’s proposal. These and other cost-saving ideas should be thoroughly debated before lawmakers even consider tax hikes of any kind.
Last year's inability to curb Harrisburg's spending appetite has already cost more than 100 vape shop owners their livelihoods. One of those impacted is Tony Meyers. He recently announced the closure of his business, which employed adults with special needs. He spoke glowingly of his business because it instilled purpose in his employees’ lives. Unfortunately, high taxes are now driving Tony to Florida.
Harrisburg's spending habits are directly responsible for so much frustration and disappointment. Lawmakers cannot make the same mistake again.
Gov. Wolf’s willingness to embrace cost reductions is encouraging, yet not enough to protect other job creators like Tony. This was the primary criticism of Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, who expressed disappointment over the lack of a plan to deal with rising pension and Medicaid costs.
An efficiency review is a good first step. And it lends credence to the idea that government is not “cut to the bone.” But it’s only a first step. More must be done to avoid adding to the state’s high tax burden and driving good people like Tony to other states with more opportunity.