Teplitz urges legislature to release spending audit ahead of budget negotiations

Pennsylvania State Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-15) urged the Pennsylvania Senate on May 15 to release its general spending audit ahead of state budget negotiations.

"We are just a few weeks away from entering the fast and furious pace of state budget negotiations," Teplitz said. "We know that this is going to be a very difficult budget process because we are looking at attempting to fill a massive hole. We need to examine every available dollar, including the legislative reserves."

Last year, Pennsylvania's Independent Fiscal Office estimated the state budget will face a deficit of approximately $1.4 billion for this fiscal year and following years, meaning legislators could face tough budget negotiations in the coming month.

"The accountability and transparency that we require of other state entities, and that the public demands and deserves, should begin with our own branch of government," Teplitz said. "That's why we shouldn't just release the audit that the legislature itself oversees, but we must move towards an independent audit that would be much more substantive and meaningful."

Teplitz, a longtime official within the state's Department of the Auditor General, said an independent audit of the legislature should be part of a government reform measure. He has introduced a bill that would authorize an annual independent audit of the state legislature and its accounts.