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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 20, 2016 03:07 PM
From: Senator Bob Mensch
To: All Senate members
Subject: Performance Based Budget Legislation
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation that would streamline and justify discretionary and state government spending. This type of policy is called “performance based budgeting” and would require all departments and agencies to justify their budget requests beginning with dollar one, for all existing as well as proposed programs for each fiscal year, before they can receive consideration for budget funding.

This type of budgeting is a normal occurrence in the private sector; and the private sector does this to ensure every dollar spent produces the desired results. Businesses are able to keep control of expenses and outcomes, so their business models remain relevant and they stay afloat.

On the other hand, Pennsylvania government continues to add new programs and continue funding existing programs without critical checks or balances which could help determine the efficacy of a particular program. Effective programs can be spotted and made more effective; ineffective spending would be identified, and real time budget decisions would be made as to their future funding.

The budget impasse of 2015 has demonstrated that our employers, the taxpayers, have begun to question how government money is spent and how much of it is spent. The traditional government solution is to raise taxes on our citizens. But there is another tool that we should employ before we discuss “revenue enhancements”, and that is performance based budgeting. We, the Legislature have an obligation to our taxpayers to account for all state funding down to the penny and decide which expenditures are necessary and which are not.

The Legislature needs to justify that there is a reason we are asking for more taxpayer dollars. Performance based budgeting will call on our legislators to make some tough decisions politically, but we have to stop increasing the size and scope of our government operation, without justification.

In the coming year, we might once again find ourselves in a difficult budget situation. A performance based budgeting process will provide the government an effective and objective way to approach our budgetary needs. We cannot continue to simply pass increased government spending desires along to our taxpayers.

Please join me in supporting this legislation that will look for a better way to budget for the coming year. We, as legislators, ought to be held accountable for our spending just as in the private sector and for our personal budgets. The increases in spending year after year are simply not sustainable.

This was Senate Bill 1341 of last session and was passed by the Senate. Co-sponsors were Wagner, Reschenthaler, Bartolotta, Eichelberger, Rafferty, Aument, Greenleaf, Vulakovich, Folmer, White, Hutchinson, Stefano, Vogel, Brooks, Alloway, Argall and Ward.

If you have any questions please call Bill Joraskie at 717-787-3110.

Introduced as SB181