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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Scarnati Announces Passage of
Debt Reduction and Transparency Bill

The State Senate today approved legislation to require greater transparency and rigorous guidelines for the awarding of economic development grants through the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).

Scarnati explained that House Bill 493 would immediately decrease the Commonwealth’s RACP debt ceiling from its current $4.05 billion to $3.45 billion. Reforms to the RACP legislation, as amended into the bill by the Senate, will also protect rural communities and ensure that project applications from rural counties receive equal consideration as those from suburban and urban areas.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program provides grants to local communities for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, and historical improvement projects. The funding may be used for the design and construction of facilities that are economic development projects which generate substantial increases in employment, tax revenues or other measures of economic activity.

“Our goal is to make sure that every tax dollar spent on economic development creates significant growth and job opportunities for Pennsylvanians,” Scarnati said. “This legislation will provide greater scrutiny and ensure that taxpayers’ money is being spent wisely and efficiently.”

According to Scarnati, House Bill 493 will require a decrease of $600 million in the RACP debt ceiling as well as substantive changes to the program and application process to promote transparency and maintain rigorous monitoring and reporting for all grants.

“The RACP has provided our local communities with help funding numerous regional economic development projects, including medical facilities, industrial parks, manufacturing facilities, workforce development centers and YMCA’s,” Scarnati said. “These important reforms to RACP will maintain the program as a viable economic development tool and ensure that it is administered in a purposeful, objective and transparent manner.”

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