House Finance Chairman Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre) has signed CAP’s NO WAMs Pledge, which reads as follows:
"In the 2011-12 Session of the General Assembly, I will support and vote for any legislation or alteration to caucus rules which prohibits caucus leaders and the executive branch from distributing "walking around money" grants (WAMs), which violate the integrity of allocating taxpayers’ dollars openly and economically; I will not seek or request any WAMs."
WAMs have long been acknowledged by state government watchdogs as a mechanism used by powerful leaders in the General Assembly to entice rank-and-file legislators to vote for legislation to which they might otherwise be opposed. WAMs are funds dished out for pet projects in legislators’ districts. Like earmarks (a.k.a., pork) at the federal level, WAMs are a significant contributing factor toward larger and costlier government.
Cases in point: To get Gov. Bob Casey, Sr.’s massive 1991 tax hike through the General Assembly, legislative leaders doled out a cornucopia of WAMs to their colleagues. WAMs were also used to ink Gov. Tom Ridge’s stadium deal, which awarded hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to the well-heeled owners of Pennsylvania’s professional football and baseball teams so they could purchase new venues.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE: Download the CAP No WAMs Pledge and urge your state legislators to sign it.