Some Ask, ‘Why Reform State Government?’ I Ask, ‘Why Not?’

By Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom)

Last month, I joined with Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin/York) to jumpstart the conversation about the need for further reforms in Harrisburg.  At a press conference in the Capitol, we unveiled our plan to start a bipartisan, bicameral Government Reform Caucus. 

Since that time, I have received praise from many citizens, support from my colleagues and a few hints of skepticism from the media.  I want to assure everyone that my desire to reform state government is genuine and the need for change is very real.

One of the things I came to Harrisburg to do is to transform the impression that state government is an institution for insiders.  People should know their government is an entity that is truly working in the best interest of citizens. 

We are aware this change is not possible with only a few lawmakers on board.  It is essential for all sides to come to the table and discuss what we can improve today and what we can strive for in the future.

I am realistic about the process of attempting to revamp the way Harrisburg does business.  I realize there are some people who simply are not interested in change.  I also know members of this new caucus may have very divergent ideas about how to foster reform.  Despite the challenges we face, I am very reassured by the number of lawmakers willing to participate in the discussion.

Some of the reforms I am working on include:

  • Restoring the part-time Legislature to combat escalating costs and the excessively slow legislative process.
  • Restructuring appointments by the governor to base them on merit rather than political favors.
  • Increasing penalties on lobbyists who fail to properly register.
  • Forfeiting gains of lobbyists realized through illegal means.
  • Selecting judges based on merit to focus on qualifications and experience rather than fundraising and politics.
  • Reforming the policy on reimbursement of legal fees for lawmakers and staff to comply with the Constitution of Pennsylvania.
  • Limiting the base amount of annuities to prevent public retirees from earning more in retirement than they did while working for the government.
  • Ensuring there is a very clear line between governmental functions and political activity.
  • Budgeting on a two-year cycle to save costs and budget more efficiently.

I am encouraged that more than 20 legislators from both sides of the aisle in the House have signed onto the Government Reform Caucus so far, and I expect this number to continue to grow. 

I welcome your feedback on the issue of government reform.  What are the changes you would like to see in Harrisburg? Feel free to call me with your ideas at (717) 284-1965 or post your thoughts at

Representative Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Nicole Wamsley
717.783.8063 /
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