HARRISBURG – Matthew J. Knittel, a senior financial economist with the U.S. Department of Treasury, has been selected to serve as the first director of Pennsylvania’s new Independent Fiscal Office, legislative leaders announced today.
“The Independent Fiscal Office will be a great tool to help lawmakers craft policy,” said Knittel. “Much like the Congressional Budget Office in Washington, D.C., the IFO will provide revenue and expenditure projections to help lawmakers make informed decisions and target limited resources to their best use. The office will also undertake special studies and report its findings and recommendations to the legislature and the public.”
Knittel, 43, holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University, where he also earned an M.A. in Economics. He earned two bachelor’s degrees, in economics and business administration, from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Knittel’s first day on the job is expected to be Monday, Sept. 19.
The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO), created by Act 120 of 2010, has several specific responsibilities, including:
- Preparing annual revenue estimates;
- Providing an annual assessment, by November 15 of each year, of the state’s fiscal condition;
- Developing performance measures for executive-level programs and departments;
- Providing an analysis of all tax and revenue proposals made by the Governor or the Office of the Budget;
- Studying and analyzing the existing sales and use tax law and making recommendations for change; and
- Establishing a website for the agency.
Knittel said he plans to use the IFO’s website to provide visitors with a wide range of data, analysis and commentary relating to state, local, regional and even national economic trends. His goal is for the IFO to become a useful and dependable resource for both the legislature and the public.
Knittel, who applied for the job after seeing it advertised on the website of the National Association of State Budget Officers, was chosen by the Independent Fiscal Office Selection and Organization Committee established in Act 120.
Members of the Selection and Organization Committee include Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25), Speaker of the House Sam Smith (R-66), Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9), Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-43), House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-28), House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody (D-33), Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman (R-34), Senate Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman Vince Hughes (D-7), House Appropriations Committee Chairman William F. Adolph Jr. (R-165), and House Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman Joseph F. Markosek (D-25).
Pursuant to the provisions of Act 120, Knittel was appointed to a six-year term. The IFO was appropriated $1.9 million in the 2011-12 state budget. A total of 19 individuals applied for the position of director.