Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rent Cars, Use Debit Cards to Trim Deficit

A group of Pennsylvania House Republicans is pushing a package of cost-savings measures they say could net the state between 557 million and 1.5 billion dollars.
Pennsylvania’s budget deficit has ballooned to $1.1 billion with projections of $1.3 billion by June 30th.
The House Republicans say their suggestions could help fill a significant chunk of that gap. Minority Leader Sam Smith suggests reducing the state’s vehicle fleet by a third, and having state employees rent cars for trips of more than a hundred miles.

"It’s really a just in time delivery, so you’re not sitting on this fleet of cars that the state owns that are only maybe being utilized two or three days a week. You’re only paying for the car the day you’re using it."

The Republicans say that would save the state 36 million dollars a year. Another suggestion is to pay for more state purchases with debit cards, rather than checks.
Lancaster County Representative John Bear claims electronic purchases would save between 62 and 219 million dollars a year, when you factor in rebates provided by the card companies.

"We spend about 141 million – I should say we paid bills, 141 million dollars of that 22 billion dollars is via p-card. We just need to expand that. West Virginia does 50 percent of all their purchases with p-card. So they’re a model for that.

Bear and other Republicans also want to crack down on tax refund errors, and shrink the state’s vehicle fleet by a third.

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