It’s Your Money

Transparency in state spending is crucial to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent as wisely and efficiently as possible.  We are continuously looking for ways to cut costs and increase accountability to taxpayers, and I believe it is important to demonstrate that commitment.

Salary
My current salary is $85,338.65.  This was the amount in effect at the time of my re-election in 2014, and reflects annual cost-of-living adjustments. I returned each of these increases to the state Treasury until 2011, when I began donating the money to the United Way to help those in need in our community. I have also introduced legislation to permanently suspend legislative pay raises.

Mileage and Expense Reimbursement
I submit receipts for reimbursement of the actual expenses I incur while performing my duties as a legislator, rather than accepting per diem payments.

When I first took office, we conducted a fiscal analysis and determined that it was more cost-effective to secure transportation through the state fleet, rather than seeking travel reimbursement.  Those savings have borne out since that time.

Total Miles Traveled
2007 – 2016
Eligible Mileage
Reimbursement
Actual Lease Costs Total Savings
226,153 $122,111 $84,422 $37,688

District Offices
I have two district offices: one in Dallas and one in Hawley.  The monthly rent for each of these offices is $2,268.10 and $480.67 respectively. Both include utilities.

We work cooperatively with county and municipal governments to offer satellite office hours at 10 locations throughout the district.  County commissioners and borough and township officials allow us to utilize office space on set days throughout the month.  We do this at no cost to the host community and are appreciative of their cooperation.

Reducing Government Costs
I have supported reductions in the operational costs of the General Assembly. Since 2007, the fiscal year in which I took office, Senate operational costs have been trimmed by more than $8 million.

 

Senate Budget

Fiscal Year

Senate Approp. General Fund Budget Senate as a % of General Fund
FY 2008-09 $101,827,000 $28,323,830,000 0.36%
FY 2009-10 $92,075,000 $27,640,543,000 0.33%
FY 2010-11 $93,682,000 $28,139,791,000 0.33%
FY 2011-12 $93,298,000 $27,030,539,000 0.35%
FY 2012-13 $93,598,000 $27,730,574,000 0.34%
FY 2013-14 $95,003,000 $28,375,869,000 0.33%

 

Open Records Law
Pennsylvania’s Open Records Law makes many government records easily available to interested residents. Information about how to request records from any state executive branch office or local government office is available from the Office of Open Records. Information about requesting records from the Senate, the House, and the state Judiciary is also available.

Online Contract Database
Pennsylvania’s new Open Records Law also created an online contract database. State contracts valued at $5,000 or more are included in this database, which can be searched by agency, contracting party, contract amount, date, and subject matter.

Online Budget Database
PennWATCH is an online state budget database designed to make details of state spending easily and freely accessible.

Sunshine Law: Tougher Penalties
Act 56 of 2011 strengthens penalties for violating Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Law, which requires public access to open meetings and the opportunity for public comment.

Senate Rules of Ethical Conduct
On June 15, 2010, the Senate adopted a set of Rules of Ethical Conduct to make the division between legislative and campaign work clear, to provide annual ethics training, and to establish strong penalties for violations.

Independent Fiscal Office
Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office prepares annual revenue estimates, provides an annual assessment of the state’s fiscal condition, develops performance measures for state programs, and analyzes tax and revenue proposals made by the Governor or the Office of the Budget. More information is available at the IFO’s website.

Lobbyist Disclosure Reports
Pennsylvania’s Lobbying Disclosure Law requires lobbyists and principals to file quarterly reports. The Department of State maintains an online database of lobbyists, principals and the required reports.

Statements of Financial Interest
The Governor, members of the General Assembly, and other public officials are required to file Statements of Financial Interest with the State Ethics Commission and are available for public inspection.