Pennsylvania could save over $1 billion through changes to Corrections, Medicaid, state prescription drug purchases and adopting other reforms, according to a study recently released by Auditor General Jack Wagner.
“The study basically says we have to change the way we do things in a number of areas,” said Steve Halvonik, a spokesman for Wagner’s office. “Some of them require legislative action.”
One recommendation would reduce financial support from the state to a school district that loses a student to a charter school.
“Not many people know this but right now if a student leaves to attend a charter school, the school district still receives 75 percent of the state subsidy for that student,” Halvonik said. “If we eliminated that, we could save millions right there.”
Other changes recommended by Wagner include cancelling construction contracts for three new prisons in the works in the state, and consolidating prescription purchases in 17 state-level programs, including Medicaid.
“We could save at least $50 million a year just by changing the prescription purchases alone,” Halvonik said.
The Wagner recommendations, though, are unlikely to be of much help to the state this year. Lawmakers face a $4 billion deficit in the fiscal year that begins July 1, and some of the changes would take years to implement even if the General Assembly gives its approval