Senate Cost Study Commission Holds First Meeting

Sen. David Argall Elected as Chairman

HARRISBURG – The Government Management and Costs Study Commission created by Senate Resolution 161 today held its first public meeting. State Senator David G. Argall (R-29), prime sponsor of SR 161, was unanimously elected as Chairman.

“In the midst of this terrible recession, I have encouraged my colleagues in the House and Senate to pursue our most basic principles, one of which is to control state spending in order to avoid unnecessary tax increases. The latest budget battle was evidence enough as to why we need to control spending,” Argall said.

“This commission is designed to look for ways to cut costs and increase savings. I look forward to working with my fellow commission members to do just that,” Argall added.

At today’s meeting, the commission also heard testimony from Walter Baran, of Frackville. Baran served as former Secretary of the Department of General Services (DGS) under Governor Dick Thornburgh. During the hearing, Baran shared history of the statewide cost reduction program that was undertaken three decades ago in Pennsylvania.

“Our goal was to curtail the spiraling cost of state government, bring spending increases to well below the rate of inflation, and ultimately to reduce tax rates in the state that had gotten known as a high-tax, rust-belt state,” Baran said. “Two principals governed this effort throughout – it should be accomplished in an orderly fashion, according to a careful plan and essential government services should never be sacrificed,” he added.

The 10-member commission includes individuals experienced in the operation of state and local government, along with members who have vast experience in private business. The goal of the commission is to study state government operations and the experience of other states in an effort to propose changes which will reduce costs for Pennsylvania taxpayers.

The commission’s report to the full Senate is due on June 30.

Members of the public who have ideas they would like the commission to consider are encouraged to send email to:

In addition to Senator Argall, members of the bipartisan commission include:

  • Robert Bittenbender of Mechanicsburg, former Budget Secretary under Governors Tom Ridge, Mark Schweiker and Dick Thornburgh, and former executive director of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • James D. Chiafullo of Presto, a director with the law firm Cohen & Grigsby in Pittsburgh who focuses on the areas of corporate, securities, commercial and real estate law.
  • Patrick J. Eiding of Philadelphia, President of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO Council since 2002 and former Business Manager and Financial Secretary of the Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local 14.
  • Joseph A. Galli Sr. of Chester Springs, former superintendent of Upper Darby School District.
  • Mike Kolchin of Tannersville, former Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Professor of Management at Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics.
  • Daylin Leach (D-17), a member of the Senate of Pennsylvania representing Delaware and Montgomery Counties.
  • Kelly Lewis of Harrisburg, President and CEO of TechQuest Pennsylvania and a former member of the state House of Representatives.
  • Zachary A. Scott, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Central Pennsylvania District, for United Parcel Service.
  • John Zawarski of Easton, a licensed real estate broker with Nic Zawarski & Sons Realty in Bethlehem.

The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 8 in Hearing Room #1 of the North Office Building in Harrisburg.


Erik Arneson (Sen. Pileggi)

Nick Troutman (Sen. Argall)


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