Blake: Tuesday Hearing is First Step Toward Smart, Efficient State Government

SCRANTON, March 11, 2011 – – As Democratic Chairman of the newly formed Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, state Sen. John P. Blake today discussed the opportunities and challenges facing the committee as it works toward a more efficient and cost-effective state government.

The committee is set to hold its first public hearing on Tuesday, March 15 at 10 a.m. in Hearing Room #1 of the North Office Building in Harrisburg.

“As we prepare for the inaugural hearing of the Intergovernmental Operations Committee, it is important that we keep our priorities – investing in what works and improving what does not – at the forefront of the discussion,” Blake said. “Reinventing government has been a prominent intention of policy makers for many years. If we really want to ‘change’ Harrisburg, it needs to be for the betterment of our economy, for the long-term fiscal health of our Commonwealth and, most importantly, it has to be for the benefit of our taxpayers – not simply change for the sake of change.”

Blake said that those who will testify at Tuesday’s hearing will discuss the track record of consolidation efforts in other states; the opportunities and concerns relating to prospective consolidation efforts in Pennsylvania; and a review of details surrounding a past consolidation effort, namely, the 1996 merger of the state Departments of Commerce and Community Affairs.

“This initial hearing is simply a review of past experiences and perhaps a review of some best practices in order to inform future action. We will concentrate on smart government,” Blake added. “I look forward to working with the Majority Chairman, Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster/York), as we seek innovative and cost-effective ways to make Pennsylvania’s state government a model for efficiency to other states across the country.”

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