As the Legislature works to finalize a fiscally responsible state budget, Senator Randy Vulakovich has introduced legislation intended to streamline government operations and reduce unnecessary spending.
“The three weeks of budget hearings we held earlier this year made it clear that the ever-increasing costs of vital state services and programs mean we must carefully consider every dollar of discretionary spending,” said Senator Vulakovich. “One of the largest areas of discretionary spending involves the costs of our state-owned vehicle fleet. We simply provide too many vehicles to too many people and we don’t have nearly enough accountability as to how those vehicles are being used.”
Senator Vulakovich introduced Senate Bill 865, legislation that would reduce the number of state-owned vehicles issued to elected and appointed officials.
“With our limited resources, it is time that we stop issuing state-owned vehicles to legislators, cabinet secretaries and judicial officials,” Senator Vulakovich said. “This sends the wrong message to our constituents. My legislation will prohibit any elected member of the legislature from being issued a state car and would limit the use of those vehicles to only those cabinet secretaries who require them for emergency response purposes.”
Senator Vulakovich’s bill also requires the Department of General Services (DGS), which oversees the state fleet, to keep and maintain standards for determining the most cost-effective manner for state employees to travel by car (i.e. fleet vehicle, rental, mileage reimbursement).
The senator also introduced Senate Bill 864, a measure that would require the placement of GPS units in all state-owned vehicles.
“The private sector has been putting GPS units in vehicles for years as a way to improve efficiency and monitor vehicles for abuse by drivers,” Senator Vulakovich said. “This effort would complement the steps already taken by the DGS to reduce costs related to vehicles. The GPS adds another layer of accountability as to where state-owned vehicles are being driven and to ensure they are being driven safely.”
Senator Vulakovich is also looking at another area to provide savings to the Commonwealth.
With more than 250 independent and departmental boards and commissions, Pennsylvania has panels in place to monitor a plethora of professional activities and a wide array of issues, yet the Commonwealth does not track the costs of running those various panels.
Senator Vulakovich introduced Senate Resolution 138, which directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the commonwealth’s board and commission members’ salaries, compensation, and fringe benefits, such as health care and pensions.
“While these Boards and Commissions provide the Commonwealth with great services, it is important we have an account of what the members are receiving in compensation and benefits,” Senator Vulakovich said. “It is my hope this study will provide the General Assembly with some guidance on cost savings and cause legislation to make the appropriate and necessary reform measures. It is an honor to be asked by the Governor to serve the people of Pennsylvania on a board or commission. However, that service should not necessarily be viewed as an extra pay check, especially if the post is part-time.”
Senate Bills 864 and 865, along with Senate Resolution 138, have been referred to the Senate State Government Committee.
Contact: Charlie O’Neill, (717) 787-6538