It's Your Money
I believe it is extremely important for public officials to ensure the public knows how their tax dollars are spent. This page is designed to help make this information available to the public.
As of December 2011, my annual salary is $82,026. I have returned several recent cost-of-living adjustments to the State Treasury.
When I took office in 2009, I helped save more than $350,000 in office expenses in my first year in office, and many of these measures continue to provide a significant annual savings to taxpayers. I have never used a state-owned or state-leased vehicle, and I do not accept mileage reimbursement for travel within the 33rd Senatorial District. I also do not accept a per diem while in Harrisburg for Senate session.
I have supported a number of new state laws in recent years to help make state government information more accessible to the public, including:
Open Records Law (2008)
Pennsylvania's new Open Records Law (Act 3 of 2008) makes many government records easily available to interested residents. Information about how to request records from any state executive branch office or local government office is available from the Office of Open Records. Information about requesting records from the Senate, the House, and the state Judiciary is also available.
Online Contract Database (2008)
Pennsylvania's new Open Records Law also created an online contract database. State contracts valued at $5,000 or more are included in this database, which can be searched by agency, contracting party, contract amount, date, and subject matter.
Online Bill Room: Fiscal Notes (2009) and Roll Call Votes (2007)
The General Assembly's website now includes links to fiscal notes for those bills that have been considered by the Senate or House Appropriations Committee. You can also access the roll call votes for every bill considered in a Senate committee, in a House committee, on the Senate floor, or the House floor.
Independent Fiscal Office (2010)
Pennsylvania's new Independent Fiscal Office, created by Act 120 of 2010, will improve the state budget process. The office's responsibilities include preparing annual revenue estimates, providing an annual assessment of the state's fiscal condition, developing performance measures for state programs, and analyzing tax and revenue proposals made by the Governor or the Office of the Budget. The IFO's website is expected to be available soon.
Rules of Ethical Conduct (2010)
On June 15, 2010, the Senate adopted a set of Rules of Ethical Conduct to make the division between legislative and campaign work clear, to provide annual ethics training, and to establish strong penalties for violations.
Website for Mobile Devices (2010)
The General Assembly has a website for mobile devices designed specifically for users of the iPhone, iPad, Android-based devices, and the BlackBerry. Visitors can use the site to search for bills by number or keyword, to read bill text, to access information about legislative committees, to watch or listen to Senate and House sessions, and to contact members of the General Assembly.
Online Budget Database (2011)
Act 18 of 2011 requires the creation of a complete online budget database. This database, designed to make details of state spending easily and freely accessible, is scheduled to be available by the end of 2012.
Sunshine Law (2011)
Act 56 of 2011 strengthens penalties for violating Pennsylvania's Sunshine Law, which requires public access to open meetings and the opportunity for public comment.
In addition to supporting measures to improve transparency and accountability in state government, I am proud to support a number of local charities that benefit our communities, including: