PA Chamber Welcoms Bill Reducing State Borrowing

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

PA Chamber welcomes House passage of bill to reduce state borrowing

HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry applauded state House lawmakers for passing a bipartisan bill (H.B. 2175) that would reduce state borrowing for economic development projects funded through the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

The legislation would immediately reduce the RACP debt ceiling from $4.05 billion to $3.5 billion. Over the next 20 years, the debt ceiling would be reduced to $1.5 billion.

"This reform is consistent with Pennsylvania Chamber members’ support of fiscal control in state government," PA Chamber President Gene Barr said. "Reducing the amount of debt incurred for capital projects means less money state government must set aside to pay the principal and interest for the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

Barr said the bill’s accountability and transparency provisions are also good for taxpayers because they would allow input from the general public and help ensure that only the most worthwhile economic development projects receive state funding.

The bill would require that at least one public hearing be held on a project funded with RACP dollars, and that approved projects be listed on the state’s website. In addition, the governor’s Budget Office would be required to develop guidelines for projects; and a moratorium would be placed on RACP approval by lame-duck governors.

"Given the fiscal challenges facing the Commonwealth and individuals and families today, it is appropriate to make sure that limited taxpayer dollars are being allocated wisely," Barr said.

House Bill 2175 now awaits consideration by the Senate.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state’s largest broad-based business advocacy association. It’s statewide membership comprises businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of Business™.