Sponsors of House and Senate bills that will detail all state spending on the Internet said they expect to work out differences soon and move the legislation to Governor Corbett.
The key difference between the proposals is over who controls the site. The Senate version creates a separate agency, the Independent Fiscal Office, to oversee and administer the site. The House bill leaves the administration of the site with the state Treasury. House Republican Leaders say that the creation of another state office is unnecessary and costly
. The House approved its version the week of February 7 as part of a package of other legislative and fiscal reform bills. The Senate Finance Committee approved its version the week of February 14.
The Senate measure would create a searchable online database to allow the public to access state government spending information. It 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.
Labeled the PennWATCH Act, the law 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.