Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Panel Suggestons Could Save $457 Million

The bipartisan commission created by the Pennsylvania Senate has issued its report identifying cost-saving measures in state government. The Senate Government Management and Cost Study Commission was made up of members of the public and private sectors and held 7 public hearings and reviewed e-mails from Pennsylvanians in completing its review of state departments and expenditures.
The co-chair, State Senator Daylin Leach of Montgomery County, says the report provides more than 40 recommendations with a potential savings of $457 million over 3 years. Leach says the suggestions include changes in the Corrections and Public Welfare Departments, reductions and consolidation of the legislature's caucus staff functions, reviewing the current per diem reimbursement for lawmakers and possibly replace it with a receipts-based system, and an online database of state spending that is accessible by the public.
Leach says they are recommending that a non-partisan office be created to continue to monitor expenditures in order to find where more money can be saved..."It's not just about spending money and not spending money, it's about doing things smartly, doing things more efficiently. If we could spend a little bit of money having an office that is saving hundreds of millions of dollars every year, that would be clearly worth it."

Other recommendations include:

-Savings of over $110 million over three years within the Department of
Corrections after examining areas that include: alternative sentencing
guidelines, parole and re-entry services, pre-release guidelines,
problem-solving courts and graduated sanctioning processes for state
parole violators.
-Reducing the number of state vehicles within the Department of General
-Further investigation of the Department of Public Welfare’s programs
to build upon a 2009 Auditor General’s audit report at an estimated
cost savings of $380 million or more.
-Consolidate school district administrative functions
-Begin comprehensive reviews of the Pennsylvania Department of
Community and Economic Development’s grants and loan programs.

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