It's Your Money
I believe that transparency in state spending is crucial to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent as wisely and efficiently as possible. This page is designed to help make basic spending information easily accessible.
As of December 1, 2011, my current salary is $82,026. This includes cost-of-living adjustments of 2.82% in December 2008, 1.67% in December 2010 and 3.02% in December 2011. (There was no cost-of-living adjustment in December 2009). Since 2008, I have returned each of the annual cost-of-living adjustments to the State Treasury via personal check.
Mileage and Expense Reimbursement
I have never used a state-owned or state-leased vehicle. Each month, I submit a statement of miles traveled on Senate business to the Senate's Chief Clerk, requesting reimbursement. The current mileage reimbursement rate, established by the Internal Revenue Service, is 55.5 cents per mile. I have always submitted actual expenses for reimbursement of hotels and meals and have not used the per diem method of expense reimbursement for hotels and meals.
There is one district office in the 36th Senatorial District, located in Lititz. The monthly rent for this office is $2,773.25 and a copy of the lease and addendum can be found on the PA Treasury website under "Search Public Contracts" on their E-Contracts Library.
I have supported a number of new state laws in recent years to help make state government information more accessible to the public. The following links provide additional information on measures designed to improve transparency and accountability for state government spending and operations.
Live Senate Video Feeds (2007)
Open Records Law (2008)
Pennsylvania's new Open Records Law (Act 3 of 2008), 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 (2008)
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 Bill Room: Fiscal Notes (2009) and Roll Call Votes (2007)
The General Assembly's website now includes links to fiscal notes for those bills that have been considered by the Senate or House Appropriations Committee. You can also access the roll call votes for every bill considered in a Senate committee, in a House committee, on the Senate floor, or the House floor.
Independent Fiscal Office (2010)
Pennsylvania's new Independent Fiscal Office, created by Act 120 of 2010, will improve the state budget process. The office's responsibilities include preparing annual revenue estimates, providing an annual assessment of the state's fiscal condition, developing performance measures for state programs, and analyzing tax and revenue proposals made by the Governor or the Office of the Budget. The IFO's website is expected to be available soon.
Rules of Ethical Conduct (2010)
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. A public hearing was held in February 2010 to help make the rules as effective as possible.
Website for Mobile Devices (2010)
The General Assembly has a website for mobile devices designed specifically for users of the iPhone, iPad, Android-based devices, and the BlackBerry. Visitors can use the site to search for bills by number or keyword, to read bill text, to access information about legislative committees, to watch or listen to Senate and House sessions, and to contact members of the General Assembly.
Online Budget Database (2011)
Act 18 of 2011 requires the creation of a complete online budget database. This database, designed to make details of state spending easily and freely accessible, is scheduled to be available by the end of 2012.
Gubernatorial Nominations (2011)
Information about every nomination made by the Governor is available on the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee website. The website, which is separated into cabinet nominations and other nominations, includes every nominee's Statement of Financial Interest and current status.
Sunshine Law (2011)
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.
OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION
In addition to those listed above, the following resources provide additional information designed to make the operation of state government more transparent and accountable.
Lobbyist Disclosure Reports (2006)
Pennsylvania's Lobbying Disclosure Law, Act 134 of 2006, requires lobbyists and principals (the companies and individuals who hire lobbyists) 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. The Statements of Financial Interest are all available on the Commission's website.