HARRISBURG – The Senate Finance Committee approved legislation today that would create a searchable online database to allow the public to access state government spending information, according to Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-36).
Senate Bill 105, sponsored by Sen. Pat Browne (R-16), would require the Independent Fiscal Office to develop, implement and maintain a website that would allow the public to access revenue and expenditure information for state government, including executive, legislative, judicial and state agency spending.
The PennWATCH Act would also include information on state contracts, performance data for state agencies and compensation data for Commonwealth agency employees. All of the information on the website would be available online at no cost to visitors.
“The General Assembly has taken major steps to improve the way we disclose information to the residents of the Commonwealth. This legislation is another important and essential movement in that direction,” Senator Browne said.
The Senate approved similar legislation sponsored by Browne during the 2009-10 legislative session. The amended version of the legislation parallels legislation passed by the House of Representatives last week.
“As we face a difficult budget year, it is extremely important to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and effectively,” Brubaker said. “This legislation will help make government spending more open and transparent to the public and allow us to root out any inefficiency in how state tax dollars are spent.”
Senate Bill 105 was sent to the full Senate for consideration.