Smaller Government

Member Group : Pennsylvania Independent

Editor’s Note: These are the first two parts of our "Capitol Projects" series. Between Election Day and the beginning of the new legislative session in January, this series of special reports will highlight the most important issues facing the General Assembly and governor-elect Tom Corbett. The topics included were chosen for the impact they will have on the citizens of Pennsylvania and were drawn from the campaign promises of our elected officials.

Smaller Government Means More Than The Number Of Lawmakers
Next session could include wide range of legislative reforms


Republicans swept into control of the state House and the executive branch on Election Day with a message of reform, promising to clean up Harrisburg and shrink the size of Pennsylvania’s ever-expanding state government.

Within the legislature, those mandates could take the form of spending restrictions, reform of per diem allowances, reductions in the number of legislative staffers, and even calls to make the General Assembly a part-time body. Some, including soon-to-be Speaker of the House Sam Smith (R-Jefferson), would like to see even more dramatic changes take place.

Two days after voters gave Republicans a 112-91 majority in the state House next session, Mr. Smith said cutting the number of lawmakers in the General Assembly could be on the table next year.

"There’s nothing magical about 203 members in the House and 50 in the Senate," said Mr. Smith. "I personally have come to the conclusion that a smaller number of members would make the House more manageable." Click here to read more.

Privatization of State Liquor Stores Could Yield $2 Billion
Could also move public monopoly to private monopoly


Privatizing the state liquor stores is one proposal advocated by House Republicans and Governor-elect Tom Corbett, but the plan’s strategies and the plan itself have varying support across Pennsylvania.

State Rep. Mike Turzai (R – Allegheny), who will serve as Majority Leader next session, has been touting the concept for a year. Mr. Corbett has also expressed a desire to privatize the state’s 621 liquor stores.

Mr. Turzai believes leasing the stores could provide the state with $2 billion in up-front revenue in 2011, which could help close an expected budget deficit from $4 billion to $5 billion. He has also projected 850 businesses would be created by the privatization of the state-run stores, not including those created through the expansion of the wine and liquor industry in Pennsylvania. Click here to read more.

Pennsylvania Independent is a public interest journalism project of the Commonwealth Foundation and is dedicated to promoting open, transparent,and accountable state government by reporting on the activities of agencies, bureaucracies, and politicians in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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