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Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon), a retired Marine reserve colonel with expertise in economic warfare, urged calm following the World Health Organization’s declaration of a pandemic in connection with the global spread of COVID-19.

“While our state’s and nation’s leaders work to mitigate the spread of the virus, we must also tend to economic threats that could be with us far longer.

“As a certified public accountant, former business owner and one who has paid particular attention to the ebbs and flows in our economy over the years, it is clear we are in challenging times,” said Ryan. “However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech at the height of the Great Depression, that “the only thing to fear is fear itself,” still rings true 87 years later. His words calmed our great nation and established a climate for recovery. Likewise, it is important that we remain calm now and be mindful of the difficult decisions we must make to save our economy.”

For years, Ryan has warned that the unwillingness of prior state leaders to make tough choices to control spending, get public pension systems under control, fix the property tax disparity and adopt other commonsense reforms, has put the Commonwealth in a precarious economic position – one that offers few good options today.

A member of the board of trustees of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS), Ryan was recently named chairman of the PSERS Audit and Compliance Committee, which positions him to initiate meaningful reforms. He has been working closely with state Treasurer Joe Torsella on a path forward.

Ryan, an outspoken advocate for government efficiency well before the current course of events, is sponsoring House Bill 1995, which would authorize a bipartisan commission to study Pennsylvania’s overall financial situation and lessons learned from other states threatened with insolvency and provide recommendations on a sound path forward.

House Bill 1053 would require larger state agencies to undergo performance audits under the direction of the auditor general and implement changes to reduce waste and costs. House Bill 985 would ensure new state auditors are qualified for the audits they are performing and encourage current employees to seek certification. Ryan is also co-sponsoring legislation that provides for priority-based budgeting, which examines the effectiveness of programs and weighs costs and benefits to ensure the best deal for taxpayers.

Ryan is co-sponsoring House Bills 52-58, which would merge eight existing state agencies into four, eliminate unnecessary boards and commissions, consolidate the management of the state’s two public pension systems and eliminate obvious areas of inefficiency and redundancy in state government.

“The seriousness of our current financial outlook demands that we take swift and meaningful action to limit state spending, particularly in light of recent developments and market insecurity,” said Ryan. “This is no time for trepidation and fear. We must move forward with confidence and make the difficult choices to build a better future for all.”