Wolf wants gift ban, no pay for officials in budget standoff

'Our citizens don't trust their government'

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wold wants to ban gifts to all elected state officials and to suspend pay for himself, lawmakers and their top aides when they haven't fully enacted a budget by the annual deadline.

"The truth is our citizens don't trust their government," Wolf said during a visit to Pittsburgh.

Wolf is proposing an ethics plan that would ban gifts for public officials, a provision that would stop pay for lawmakers and top staffers until a budget is passed, and an attempt to curb special interest groups by limiting the amount of contributions that could be made to candidates seeking office.

"It will hold those entrusted with taxpayer dollars accountable for how they choose to spend those dollars," Wolf said. "This proposal is a bold departure from how business is done in Harrisburg. I recognize that, and I'm sure it will face stiff opposition."

69 News spoke with Berks County Republican state Rep. Mark Gillen, who said he already practices much of what the governor proposed. He said he doesn't accept gifts of any sort.

State Sen. Judy Schwank, a Democrat who represents part of Berks County, said the reforms are long overdue.

"It's about time," Schwank said. "I think it's going to be very important for the governor to be pushing these reforms that we've needed for so long."

Schwank said she wants to begin discussing ethics reform legislation when lawmakers reconvene next week.

"I'm going to be asking my chair as well as the Republican chair of the committee, where are these bills?" Schwank said. "Can we get them considered?"

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