|Posted:||May 13, 2021 12:49 PM|
|From:||Senator Lindsey M. Williams|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Requiring the Office of the Chief Clerk to Publicly Post All Legislators’ Expenses|
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that requires legislative expenses to be publicly posted online. Dollars spent by legislators are tax dollars and should be easily accessible by those who foot our bill.
Oftentimes, citizens or journalists who want to see how legislators spend their allotted budgets face obstacles in obtaining that information. This legislation will require that the Offices of the Chief Clerk of both the Pennsylvania House and Senate post the expenses of all legislators on a public facing website in a searchable format. Per diems, state vehicle usage, and reimbursements for expenses would be included on the website. The legislation will also require that all office, travel, and other expenses that come out of both legislators’ and caucus’ operating accounts be included on the website.
While several legislators, myself included, already provide public access to expenses that come out of our office budgets on our websites, there are numerous other expenses that we are unable to account for because they come out of other pots of money. By requiring the Offices of the Chief Clerk to post all expenses, we will be able to provide the public will a full, transparent picture of how their taxpayer dollars are being spent. Additionally, by removing this responsibility from individual legislators, we will ensure a uniform, consistent process among offices.
The dollars we spend as legislators come from taxpayers. Taxpayers deserve transparency in knowing how their money is spent. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important and needed legislation.