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Politics & Government

Sen. Teplitz: "Watchdog" Agencies Could Be "Neutered" By Corbett's Budget

A Dauphin County State Senator is worried the commonwealth's “watchdog” agencies won’t be able to perform their duties if Governor Tom Corbett’s new $28.5 billion budget passes.

The Governor has called for level funding for the Auditor General ($40,777,000) and Attorney General ($78,121,000), and a $16,607,000 (1.5 percent) cut to the Treasurer’s office. The State Ethics Commission would also see level funding, and The Office of Open Records would get a small spending increase.

“Level funding in this environment may sound good, but it really just cements in devastating cuts from prior years and doesn’t take into account their increased costs,” said Senator Rob Tepletz (D-Dauphin).  “So I have a lot of concern about whether they can perform their jobs effectively.”

Tepletz formerly served as chief counsel and policy director at the Office of the Auditor General.

He said there needs to be checks on the Governor’s office.

“We have to make sure that these watchdogs are not neutered by very unfortunate budget proposal from the Governor.”

He said, if the Governor’s proposed budget is approved, the Auditor General would be performing fewer audits and less timely audits on critical programs and services. He said the number of audits has already decreased from 5,000 to 4,000 in the past year, a 20 percent reduction.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale asked for three and a half million dollars more than the Governor's funding proposal.