How Much is Corruption Costing You?

June 18, 2014:

A recent study compared looked at the number of officials convicted for violations of federal corruption laws between from 1997 to 2008. It probably will not come as a surprise to most residents of the commonwealth, but Pennsylvania ranks fifth in the nation in terms of official corruption even by this limited measure (think of how many officials from Pennsylvania have been convicted of state charges).

What might come as a surprise is how much money government corruption costs taxpayers. The authors of the study estimated that if Pennsylvania and other top ten corruption states only had "average" levels of corruption total spending could be reduced by $1,308 per person or 5.2 percent of government spending. Keep in mind that this is for all levels of government spending within the state.

If that is not depressing enough consider one of the study’s other findings, as reported by Fortune Magazine:

"Researchers also found that spending in these states was different than their less corrupt counterparts. According to the report, ‘states with higher levels of corruption are likely to favor construction, salaries, borrowing, correction, and police protection at the expense of social sectors such as education, health and hospitals.’"

"The paper explains that construction spending, especially on big infrastructure projects, is particularly susceptible to corruption because the quality of large, nonstandard projects are difficult for the public to gauge, while the industry is dominated by a few monopolistic firms. Corrupt states also tend to, for obvious reasons, simply have more and better paid public servants, including police and correctional officers. The researchers argue that the need for correctional officers is greater in corrupt places too because ‘the overall extent of corruption will be higher in states with higher numbers of convictions of public officials.’"

Since it is budget season in Harrisburg and the search is on for more money to feed the leviathan, you might be interested to learn how much of the general fund budget is lost to corruption. If the 5.2 percent figure holds for state spending, roughly $1.5 BILLION in the 2014-2015 budget will be wasted.

Keep that number in mind when you hear politicians in Harrisburg talking about the need for more "revenue" in the coming weeks.

Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania (CAP) is a non-profit organization founded to raise the standard of living of all Pennsylvanians by restoring limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility. By empowering the Commonwealth’s employers and taxpayers to break state government’s "Iron Triangle" of career politicians, bureaucrats, and Big Government lobbyists, this restoration will occur and Pennsylvania will prosper.