Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee Advances Fiscal Transparency Legislation

HARRISBURG – Chaired by State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33), the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee took action on several measures today that would bring fiscal transparency to state government.

The committee approved two bills requiring legislative approval and review after three years of any regulation with a fiscal impact exceeding $1 million, as well as a measure that provides more transparency in the use of state grants.

“Regulatory reform, red tape reduction and transparency have been the committee’s priorities during my chairmanship,” said Mastriano. “The passage of these bills demonstrates that lawmakers are serious about helping Pennsylvania businesses grow and prosper. As we begin budget discussions, there is no better time to consider this legislation – fiscal responsibility should be one of our top priorities.”

Senate Bill 5, proposed by Senator John DiSanto (R-15), would prohibit costly government regulations from being imposed without approval by the General Assembly and the Governor. As part of the bill, no regulation with an economic impact or cost to the state, its political subdivisions or the private sector exceeding $1 million would be implemented without consent by lawmakers.

Senate Bill 609, sponsored by Senator Michele Brooks (R-50), would address the onslaught of costly, burdensome regulations that stifle investment and Pennsylvania jobs, by establishing an automatic review process for regulations with a fiscal impact of $1 million or more, after they have been in effect for three years.

“There is a cost to every regulation – the cost is exacerbated when the regulation is unneeded or unwanted,” said Mastriano. “Regulations can quickly become burdensome, impractical, and many times cause unintended consequences.”

Senate Bill 1034, proposed by Senator Kristin-Hill, would bring accountability and transparency to the state grant process, by ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and efficiently. The legislation implements several recommended reforms by the PA Auditor General.

Mastriano noted that the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee held a hearing in December at Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, where small business owners, economic development specialists and business groups expressed the need for regulatory reform. The state currently has 153,000 regulations.

“Entrepreneurs overwhelmingly supported these measures, and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in small town businesses closing their doors,” said Mastriano. “Businesses need our help now more than ever.”

Mastriano concluded: “Regulations are important, but they need to be implemented correctly and reviewed on a consistent basis to ensure effectiveness, and whether they are having the intended result.”

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