Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord says he is often amazed when he talks to important business leaders at how little they know about the state’s money. “I’m struck how often I’m talking to business leaders who start talking about the state budget and I just sort of stop them and say, ‘are you aware of what the size of what the budget is?’ and they have no idea,” says McCord, “and I say, ‘are you aware of what the top three or four areas of expense are?’ and the have no idea.” McCord says he wants to make sure more people have that type of information by issuing a quarterly “McCord Report.”
The report will provide “unvarnished and unbiased” numbers according to McCord. “One of the things I’ve noticed is that most of the numbers that you see and hear come with a ton of spin and an argument wrapped around them,” says McCord
He says by just putting out the raw numbers is a good beginning of a conversation. He points to gambling revenues as one example. “There are plenty of arguments against gambling, plenty of arguments for gambling but there is a core question on the table, ‘how much have we gathered so far in tax revenues as a result of gambling and how much has been returned in the form of property tax cuts?’” McCord says people can argue over if the numbers are good or bad but the numbers are solid facts.
The Treasurer says he is a data junky and his employees know that so they are often giving him numbers pulled from the mounds of numbers his office deals with every day. He says his report will provide snap shots of the state’s income, spending, and the economy. The Treasurer says he hopes people will read The McCord Report every quarter and over time gain a good understanding of the state’s finances.
The first report looks at overall budget size, gaming revenue, housing and the state’s largest employers. The report will be electronically published and interested individuals can sign up online to have them delivered every three months. You can download a copy of the report here.