Philadelphia, PA – Democratic nominee for PA State Treasurer Joe Torsella today announced his support for an idea at the core of a bipartisan budget reform bill introduced by Senator Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin) and Senator Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny), providing that Harrisburg lawmakers’ pay should be suspended if they fail to produce a state budget by the constitutional deadline. Torsella also said that, if elected Treasurer, his own salary should be included in any suspension of pay due to a budget standoff.
Joe Torsella’s Full Statement:
“Most Pennsylvanians have to do their jobs to collect their paychecks. Pennsylvania elected officials — whether members of the General Assembly, the Governor, or an elected Treasurer — should play by the same set of rules. Taxpayers have every right to expect that if Harrisburg politicians can’t do their job and produce an on-time budget, they should not be paid. When there’s no timely state budget all of Pennsylvania suffers, but there’s no penalty to lawmakers who caused the crisis.
Like most Pennsylvanians, I have serious questions about a system that withhold funds to school districts, non-profits and service providers while continuing to write checks to elected officials. As last year’s budget crisis proved, the system in Harrisburg is broken. As I’ve said before, if elected I intend to conduct a new, comprehensive and independent review with legal counsel on all questions of which state expenses should be paid in the absence of a duly enacted state budget.
I applaud Senators Teplitz and Vulakovich for raising this important issue. California — which has a “no budget/no pay” provision — gives Pennsylvania a good model to follow. As Treasurer, I will stand for common sense reforms like this one, and will work with leaders in both parties to make Pennsylvania government more accountable to the taxpayers who pay the bills.”