Lawmakers Increase Debt for Politicized Grants

While it is often difficult to pass legislation prior to an election, legislators agreed to pass a bill that increased state debt by more than $1.6 billion. The House recently approved this piece of legislation which was passed by the Senate in June. The Governor is expected to authorize the additional borrowing in the coming weeks.

The majority of funds are earmarked for public infrastructure projects. However, a significant amount of these newly borrowed funds will be applied to the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Projects program (RACP). The capital projects fund funnels government grants to private development projects. This new legislation will cost taxpayers $2.3 billion over 20 years or an additional $115 million in annual debt servicing.

When it comes to allocating funds, the RACP has a longstanding history of being a “political process, first and foremost.” Continue reading

Finance Committee Advances Hiring Incentive

After a two month recess, the General Assembly reconvened for the fall legislative session. For the first time since the end of the Great Recession, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has steadily risen to meet the national average. With only one month remaining before adjourning until next year, the House Finance Committee swiftly approved legislation by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (Centre) aimed to bolster job creation.
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