Report: $30.4 Billion Spent by Wolf Administration During Budget Impasse

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 11.57.49 AMHARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – State Reps. Seth Grove (R-York), Cris Dush (R-Jefferson/Indiana) and Jim Christiana (R-Beaver/Washington) held a press conference Thursday to release a report on Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration spending during the five-month budget impasse.

The report details $30.4 billion in spending from July 1 to Oct. 31 and the use of waivers, which allow Wolf’s administration to spend funds authorized from previous fiscal years. Of the $30.4 billion in spending since the beginning of the budget impasse, $2.7 billion was spent by the administration using waivers, according to information provided by the Pennsylvania Treasury.

“We’ve heard countless promises from Governor Wolf pledging openness, accountability and transparency in his administration’s operations,” said Dush. “This report clearly demonstrates an absolute betrayal of those promises to the people of this Commonwealth. Beyond the governor’s lack of transparency to the people, he is circumventing the responsibility of the executive branch to be accountable to the Legislature. He is not a king. The Legislature writes the laws. His responsibility is to execute those laws. This is a Republic, not a dictatorship.”

The report also states that “of the billions in reported expenditures from the Wolf administration, only $4 billion of expenses have been reported on PennWATCH.”

PennWATCH is Pennsylvania’s online portal to information regarding state expenditures and revenue, which was established in 2011 by legislation sponsored by Christiana.

“Over the past five years, Democrats and Republicans have been committed to shining light on every detail of the spending of taxpayer dollars,” Christiana said. “This report shows Gov. Wolf is not standing by his promise to deliver a fully accountable and transparent ‘government that works’ to the people of the Commonwealth.”

The report also makes recommendations to provide Pennsylvania taxpayers true transparency on state spending.

“This report demonstrates that the Wolf administration is keeping taxpayers in the dark on how the state is spending taxpayer money. Taxpayers deserve nothing short of complete transparency. The waivers used by the administration are vaguely worded at best and provide no clear-cut need for the spending. Also, it’s a problem that funds from the 2004-5 fiscal year are being called up in a waiver over a decade later. The auditor general should inspect all state accounts to determine how much taxpayer money appropriated from previous years has not been spent, and the General Assembly should provide additional oversight on waiver use from future administrations,” said Grove.

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