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Tobash Applauds Passage of Bill Creating Comprehensive State Spending Website

The state House today overwhelmingly approved legislation to create a comprehensive, searchable website of state budgeting and spending information, Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Berks) said today. 

“State government must be more open and transparent. There is no better way to accomplish that goal than to provide a one-stop shop for information on how Pennsylvanians’ tax dollars are being spent,” Tobash said. “This is another important step toward rebuilding the public’s trust in their government. I encourage the Senate to act on this measure as soon as possible.” 

The Pennsylvania Web Accountability, Transparency and Contract Hub, or PennWATCH, would be created and maintained by the State Treasurer. Under the bill, by the end of this year, the site would have to provide the following information:

  • Annual appropriations and expenditure information for Commonwealth agencies.
  • Identifying information of vendors receiving payment.
  • Amount of each expenditure and the funding source. 

By the end of 2013, the site would also incorporate hyperlinks to state contracts, a description of the program under which an expenditure is made and the expected outcomes of the expenditure.   

In addition to PennWATCH, other reform measures adopted by the House this week would:

  • Increase penalties for lobbyists who violate the state’s Lobbyist Disclosure Act.
  • Extend whistleblower protections to employees of nonprofits and private sector companies with state contracts who report waste of public money obtained by their employer for services or work.
  • Enhance the state contracting process by allowing for public review of a contract not awarded by a competitive bid process prior to execution of the agreement and by prohibiting an employee of the administration who previously worked for a company bidding on a state contract from participating in the evaluation of that proposal.
  • Prohibit lawmakers from creating nonprofit organizations that receive public funds. 

The bills passed the House unanimously and now await consideration in the Senate. 

State Representative Mike Tobash
125th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Patricia Hippler

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