|Posted:||October 7, 2019 04:15 PM|
|From:||Representative Jason Ortitay|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Special Funds Bill Package|
|Please join me as a cosponsor of three bills that I will be introducing to reform how the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the State Stores Fund, and the Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund operate. Each of these bills would improve the ability of the legislature to exercise its budgetary oversight duties.|
Introduced as HB2004
|Description:||The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund Act (Act 50 of 1993) established the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (fund), which provides funding for grant programs for the acquisition, improvement and expansion of parks, recreation facilities, historic sites, zoos, public libraries, nature preserves and wildlife habitats.
The money in the fund, which comes from a monthly deposit of 15% of the Realty Transfer Tax collections, is distributed to the grant programs according to an allocation schedule that has remained unchanged since 1993.
The first bill would repeal the Act’s static allocation schedule and instead require that the General Assembly annually appropriate money in the fund among the grant programs. This proposal would not alter the monthly deposits into the fund or which programs may be funded.
We should not assume that the spending priorities that the Legislature set in 1993 still reflect the needs of our constituents in 2019. Choosing funding priorities for the Commonwealth, particularly for grant programs, should be set by the General Assembly each year.
Introduced as HB2003
|Description:||The second bill would provide for the legislative determination of the amount transferred from the State Stores Fund to the General Fund each year.
Under current law, the amount that is transferred from the State Stores Fund to the General Fund for use in the budget is determined by the Liquor Control Board with the approval of the governor.
This legislation would require that the governor recommend an amount for the transfer as part of the budget submission material. The actual amount of the transfer would be set by the General Assembly through the budget legislation. This mirrors the process for setting the annual transfer to the General Fund that was used for the General Appropriation Act of 2015.
Introduced as HB2005
|Description:||The final bill in this package would give the General Assembly the ability to set the funding priorities within the Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund (fund) through the budget process each year.
The fund was established in Act 198 of 2002 and amended in Act 36 of 2006 to provide funding for grant programs for substance abuse prevention at the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the Community Drug Abuse Prevention Grant Program within the Office of Attorney General. Deposits in the fund come from additional assessments on violations of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act or violations related to driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance.
This legislation would repeal the static allocation among the programs. Instead, the amounts available in the fund would be appropriated for the grant programs each year. There would be no change to the total amount deposited in the fund or in the eligible uses of money in the fund.
I believe that funding priorities, particularly for grant programs, should be set by the General Assembly each year.