|Posted:||December 2, 2020 02:59 PM|
|From:||Representative Seth M. Grove and Rep. Paul Schemel, Rep. Francis X. Ryan, Rep. Matthew D. Dowling|
|To:||All House members|
|As we enter the new legislative session, we plan to not only reintroduce this package, but expand our vision for how we can improve establish BEST practices (Better Government, Economic Prosperity, Stronger and Healthier Communities for Taxpayers) in Harrisburg.
In order to provide taxpayers and the people of Pennsylvania the better government, promised in our proposal, these bills will merge eight existing state agencies into four new state agencies. These new agencies would be the Commonwealth Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Department of Business, Tourism and Workforce Development (DBTWD), the Department of Local Government and Community Affairs (DLGCA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Each merger in the legislation will require the adoption of a strategic plan detailing how the agencies described in the legislation are to be combined. To provide adequate time to prepare for the mergers, the legislation gives seven months following the effective date to develop the strategic plan.
While each merger is explained in greater detail below the strategic plan for each merger contains similar requirements. These requirements include:
Introduced as HB43
|Description:||Office of Management and Budget
This legislation would merge the Budget Office, the Department of General Services, the Office of Administration and the Governor’s Office of Policy and Planning into one agency. This agency, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), would oversee and supervise all aspects of the commonwealth’s governance including budget preparation, oversee state expenditures along with handling all procurement, HR and IT. This model is used by the federal government and by 29 states to improve the coordination and management of governance.
In order to fulfill its important role and the duties of the merged agencies, the new agency is going to be comprised of several important bureaus. OMB will be organized to include:
Introduced as HB45
|Description:||Department of Business, Tourism and Workforce Development
Under current law, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has decentralized its job creation, economic development and business programs throughout several different state agencies. To improve economic development and strengthen job creation, we plan introduce legislation merging economic development, business and workforce development policy under a single agency.
Introduced by Representative Frank Ryan, the proposal merges the Department of Labor and Industry with functions from the Department of Community and Economic Development and Department of State. Under the legislation the new Department of Business, Tourism and Workforce Development (DBTWD) would be organized as follows:
Introduced as HB47
|Description:||Department of Local Government and Community Affairs
Under Governor Ridge, the commonwealth merged multiple departments together to form the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). This merger diluted the commonwealth’s focus on economic and community development by merging the two under DCED.
Pennsylvania has the second most local governmental entities of any state with almost 5,000 local governments. This proposal would merge different state agencies to create a new state department to address local community needs and concerns. Introduced by Representative Matt Dowling, this proposal would create the Department of Local Government and Community Affairs (DLGCA). This department would be comprised of powers and authorities from the Department of State and the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED)
The department would be overseen by a cabinet secretary who would act as Secretary of the Commonwealth, which is a constitutional position. The department would oversee and assist counties across the state with managing elections. The department would also handle local government grant and tax credit programs transferred from DCED. Similar to the newly created Department of Business, Tourism and Workforce Development, the DLGCA would have an office of Local Government Consultant. The role of this office would be as a liaison between the department and local governments assisting with grant applications and other issues facing local government. DLGCA will be divided into:
Introduced as HB49
|Description:||Department of Health and Human Services
During his first term Governor Wolf twice proposed merging the Department of Health with the Department of Human Services. The unification of the two agencies would achieve savings for taxpayers while improving the delivery of services to Pennsylvanians. The proposed unification presents us with a significant opportunity to reinvent state government, streamline bureaucracy and break down the silos which prevent agencies from serving residents most effectively.
We applaud Governor Wolf for this bold proposal as merging the two agencies allows the commonwealth to achieve savings while improving the quality-of-care provided to those in need. Introduced by Representative Paul Schemel, this legislation would address the overlap and redundancies between state agencies which oversee our social safety net programs.
An example of this overlap can be seen through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women Infants and Children Program (WIC), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF). Each program is similar in nature and often serve overlapping populations. Many individuals receiving WIC are also receiving SNAP due to the limited types of food and supplies that can be purchased with each. Yet SNAP and TANF are administered by DHS and WIC is administered by the Department of Health. WIC is distributed to individuals by check and SNAP and TANF are distributed on Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.
By merging the two agencies into the Department of Health and Human Services, the new agency can coordinate these programs to provide needed services. As a result, we can improve care while saving taxpayer money.