Harrisburg Broken. Really, Really Broken
By Sen. Scott Wagner
In my past articles, I have reported repeatedly many of the findings in Harrisburg where I see first-hand waste, fraud and abuse.
Here is another great example of how mismanaged Harrisburg really is. Last Thursday (Sept. 29) the Auditor General held a press conference and reported the findings of an audit that was performed at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS).
It was reported at the press conference that from July 2013 to June 2014 DHS paid public assistance benefits (CASH) to over 2,300 deceased (DEAD) people.
Click here for a report from TV station WNEP- http://wnep.com/2016/09/29/audit-2300-deceased-people-on-welfare/
I continue to pound on the table that “Harrisburg does not have a revenue problem – Harrisburg has a spending problem.”
Well here is another slogan – “Harrisburg is out of control – zero accountability – who cares, it is not our money.”
I have reported previously that there is a total lack of accountability in the various state agencies. DHS is the best example of an agency out of control.
You may ask yourself how an agency could be out of control. Here is the best and most accurate answer: Lack of leadership, direction and accountability.
Where should leadership, direction, and accountability start in Harrisburg you might ask – here is the simple answer – the Governor’s office.
Gov. Wolf has been in office for almost two years and I have not seen any large initiatives in any single state agency to determine how well a specific agency is performing or not performing.
In the last several months I have met with two separate companies and their representatives who have presented to me a scenario where, due to fraud and abuse, there are between $1.8 billion to $4 billion of fraudulent claims being paid by Medicaid through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services annually – the $1.8 billion and $4 billion are numbers that the federal government has provided based on total Medicaid dollars spent in Pennsylvania. Medicaid is the subsidized health care program for low income people that is managed by DHS. What is being done about this fraud and abuse?
Since the beginning of this year I have received continued complaints from private sector companies and the natural gas industry that the Department of Environmental Resources (DEP) is delaying earth disturbance permits for pipeline projects.
Why are these permits being delayed? Here is the answer: No leadership, direction and accountability.
Just a few weeks ago I received a complaint from a constituent that a specific agency was not returning telephone calls to discuss the constituent’s issue. I directed a person in my Senate office to work on a resolution and guess what? Our telephone calls went unanswered.
How could our telephone calls go unanswered? No Leadership, direction and accountability.
I could go on for hours of how mismanaged Harrisburg really is. No leadership, No accountability, career bureaucrats and an attitude that instead of doing any heavy lifting and managing the money that already flows into Harrisburg. The first quick solution is to just raise taxes.
Governors come and go. House and Senate members come and go. Career bureaucrats stay below the radar screen to keep their jobs, generous benefits, and their coveted pensions when they retire.
At the end of September I completed my 30th month (two and a half years) in the Pennsylvania State Senate. All I can say is – WOW. I knew that state government was out of control in Harrisburg before I arrived and guess what? It is 10 times worse than I expected.
I anticipate that in January of 2017 the Pennsylvania Legislature will be presented with a budget from Governor Wolf that will ask for substantial tax increases.
The current mentality from Governor Wolf is that Pennsylvania taxpayers can afford to pay more taxes.
If you are willing to pay more taxes instead of Governor Wolf providing leadership, direction and holding every person who works in state government accountable, please send me an email so we can put your name on a list so Harrisburg can send you a tax bill.
Out of control government in Harrisburg – the gift that just keeps on taking !
Harrisburg Broken. Really, Really Broken