Rabb to introduce bill to create more transparent and accountable Pa. budget process

HARRISBURG, Aug. 7 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced he will introduce legislation that would require the leaders of Pennsylvania’s executive and legislative branches to hold daily public hearings on the state budget whenever there is a budget impasse.

The bill would require executive and legislative leaders to hold public hearings if comprehensive spending and revenue bills for the upcoming fiscal year have not been introduced by June 19. These leaders include the governor, state treasurer, secretary of revenue, auditor general, Independent Fiscal Office director, and majority and minority leadership for both the House and Senate. These individuals would be required to participate in hearings until such legislation is introduced.

“It’s been six weeks after the House overwhelmingly passed a spending plan, and we still don’t know how we are going to pay for it,” Rabb said. “On Friday, our state treasurer had to extend to the Commonwealth a $750 million line of credit to prevent us from running out of money. We are only in the second month of the fiscal year and our schools and county agencies are already at risk of experiencing funding shortfalls. This is not responsible budgeting and it certainly is not how to run a government.”

Rabb said he wants Pennsylvanians to see democracy in action and require all relevant parties work together to meet the needs of the Commonwealth. Hearings would be required to last at least two hours and would be preceded with a memo addressing the status, concerns and suggestions regarding the budget. The memo would be available to the public at least 24 hours prior to the start of the hearing. The bill would also require that hearings be broadcast live on the General Assembly’s public website.

“Pennsylvanians send us to Harrisburg to pass a fair, balanced and on time budget,” Rabb said. “If we aren’t doing that, then we need to go home. It’s time we do what the voters sent us to do.”