Gov. Tom Corbett says he plans to issue a plan Tuesday aimed at fulfilling a campaign promise for changes in the way government does business - but he says legislators have already gotten the message.
Corbett, a Republican who was sworn in as Pennsylvania's 46th governor on Tuesday, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in an interview that the effort will be an ongoing dialogue with legislative leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers.
One proposal would eliminate or reduce “walking-around money,” the nickname for a secretive process controlled by legislative leaders that funnels tens of millions of dollars a year in state grants to legislators' pet programs in their home districts.
Another proposal would pare down the $188 million legislative surplus and require documentation for $157 legislative per diem payments that lawmakers can collect for overnight stays in the state capital.
Other proposals would require House members to contribute toward their health care costs, as senators do, and create a user-friendly online database so taxpayers can search for state spending.
Corbett said he has other changes in mind for employees under his own jurisdiction, but declined to discuss them. And he cited with approval legislative proposals for a spending database and a two-year state budget.
“We'll continue to do more,” he said. “It's not like, ‘Here's the plan’ and that's it.”
During the governor's race, Corbett vowed in a television ad to send lawmakers a plan on “day one” if elected, which prompted critics to accuse him of breaking a campaign promise. Corbett said substantive change requires working with lawmakers, since only they can introduce legislation and expenses are governed by House and Senate rules.
The surplus and “walking around money” will be taken up during budget talks with leaders, Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said.
In November, Republicans won control of the House, Senate and governor's office for the first time in eight years.
The House is advancing a plan to eliminate state fleet cars, require documentation for per diems, and demand a health care contribution from members, and both bodies say they want to pursue the database plan.
“I think the governor has been very clear he wants to change the way Harrisburg operates, and gosh darn, we agree,'' Miskin said.