PITTSBURGH — Under a proposal put forth Monday by Gov. Wolf, public officials would be subject to a gift ban, new campaign finance limits would be enacted, lawmakers would need to provide receipts for reimbursements, and top state officials wouldn't be paid until a complete budget was passed every year.
Wolf, a Democrat, unveiled his proposed reforms at a news conference at the Allegheny County Courthouse, along with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
No legislators were in attendance and the governor said that he anticipated the proposals would face opposition.
"This proposal will hold all public officials accountable to their constituents and make sure our citizens know exactly who's in charge in Harrisburg," he said.
His "Citizens First" six-point ethics plan also called for broader provisions to discourage "pay to play," such as requiring disclosure of campaign contributions made by parties seeking state contracts. The governor also suggested additional transparency for legislators who have outside income, requiring disclosure of sources, type of work, and amount of income received.
Currently, lawmakers must disclose sources of outside income above $1,300 annually, though they don't have to say how much they earn. They must also disclose certain expensive gifts, tickets, transportation and meals. The governor is proposing a gift ban.
A number of similar proposals have been floated before, particularly in the wake of scandals or budget impasses — such as not paying lawmakers while a budget remains unfinished — but haven't gained traction.
Wolf said this is the first time he's proposing the changes. He has already imposed a gift ban on the executive branch. Wolf, who is independently wealthy, donates his salary to charity.
Republican officials criticized Wolf's proposals as election-year rhetoric and said not allowing legislators to take a salary during a budget stalemate would increase pressure on the legislature to agree to the governor's proposals.
"Rather than treating a symptom, we would hope the governor would work to fix the problem and work with us to finish a budget on time," said Jennifer Kocher, spokeswoman for Senate Republicans.
Good-government groups, such as Common Cause Pennsylvania and Committee of Seventy, said they were supportive of the proposals.