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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=22378
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 23, 2017 12:03 PM
From: Representative George Dunbar
To: All House members
Subject: Transparency in the Capital Budget Bill
 
In the near future, I will reintroduce legislation to help members of the General Assembly cast more educated votes on upcoming Capital Budget Bills.

Each year, the General Assembly is presented with a Capital Budget Bill from the Governor and asked to approve it. As you may know, this bill is a grant of authority to the Governor to incur new debt in the form of general obligation bonds to fund various capital projects in the upcoming fiscal year.

For example, in the Capital Budget Bill for 2014-15, the Governor was granted the authority to borrow $1,295,000,000.00, to fund projects (of his choosing) in the five (5) different categories of Capital Projects. The Capital Budget Bill provides members of the House with the category of project, the amount the Governor wishes to borrow in the upcoming fiscal year and the funds to repay the indebtedness.

This legislation would require the Governor to identify the amount of money being sought to fund on-going projects and the amount being sought to fund “new” projects (defined as projects for which funding has not been previously authorized). Further, this legislation would require the Governor to provide a detailed report to the General Assembly, describing the projects that would be financed with the debt being incurred by the Capital Budget Bill.

Under current procedures, the legislature approves over a billion dollars in debt and encumbers hundreds of millions of general fund dollars without being provided the basic information of how the money is going to be spent. I believe the legislature has an obligation to know before casting a vote on the debt authorization.

I urge you to support this basic effort in transparent government by adding your name to the list of co-sponsors.



Introduced as HB286