General Assembly Adds Another $1.6 Billion in Debt

Member Group : Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania

Attention Taxpayers: The General Assembly Authorized Another $1 Billion in Debt

October 5, 2012:

In May we brought the little discussed "Capital Budget" to your attention:
"The Capital Budget in recent history has been a goody bag for lobbyists and corporate special interests. Act 130 of 2011, last year’s Capital Budget, added $1.6 billion in debt to the Commonwealth’s balance sheet. Taxpayers financed projects like: The Arlen Spector Library ($1.97 million); the John P. Murtha Center for Public Policy ($10 Million); Laborers District Council Union Office Building ($2 million); and a host of projects with debatable economic impact (like soccer stadiums).

"The Senate’s proposed 2012-2013 Capital Budget, SB 1480
will add another $1.67 billion in debt to the balance sheet. However, taxpayers
will not find out exactly which projects are being funded until the money is disbursed (the House and the Senate pass a wish list, but the executive branch ultimately writes the check)."

In June the Senate approved the legislation and on October 3rd the legislation was passed by the House. (To see how your Representative and Senator voted go here [L][EL].)

As if it isn’t bad enough that the General Assembly is taking on debt, a significant portion of the money from this debt is given to private enterprises in the name of "economic development". As we noted previously, it is better characterized as legal plunder.

The argument that our elected officials make about giving tax dollars to businesses is essentially "everyone is doing it"; an argument that most parents will recognize (and frankly should be treated with the same hostility). Although many states do give tax dollars away to private businesses, Pennsylvania has an especially high percentage and taxpayers have gotten a terrible return on the "investment".

A recent study by the Goldwater Institute
found that a full 38% of the funds from debt issued by state and local governments went to the benefit of private enterprise. However, the growth rate for employment from 2002-2012 was only 0.43%. Any reasonable analysis would conclude that our current economic development model has failed.

Unfortunately, there is little place in government for reason. As a consequence,
our legislature piles on more debt pursuing the same centrally planned economic
model. Yet they do nothing to fix the underlying problems that make Pennsylvania a place unattractive for new businesses and detrimental to
the growth of existing business.

The only thing that stands in the way of another $1.6 billion in debt is Governor Corbett. If you believe that additional debt is the last thing Pennsylvania needs contact his office today:

[email protected] or 717-787-2500


Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania (CAP) is a non-profit organization founded to
raise the standard of living of all Pennsylvanians by restoring limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility. By empowering the Commonwealth’s employers and taxpayers to break state government’s "Iron Triangle" of career politicians,bureaucrats, and Big Government lobbyists, this restoration will occur and Pennsylvania will prosper.| PA | 17112