PA Taxpayers to Build Specter Library, Murtha Center

JULY 3, 2010 | by NATHAN BENEFIELD

Pete DeCoursey of Capitolwire (subscription) reports today that the line items from the RACP legislation ($600 million in borrowing for corporate welfare, included as part of the budget deal), includes two projects named for Pennylvania's former and soon-to-be-former members of Congress: Jack Murtha and Arlen Specter.  From Capitolwire:

One is the “Arlen Specter Library Project Center Allocation” at Philadelphia University. That project and other unnamed plans will get $10 million. The bill says the funds will help the university, located just a few blocks uphill from Rendell’s and Specter’s Philadelphia homes, to build a library honoring the governor’s first boss and long-time friend, out-going U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

Another $10 million will go to Johnstown for “acquisition, construction, infrastructure and other related costs for the John P. Murtha Center for Public Policy. ...

Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation, a fiscally conservative Harrisburg-based think tank, responded by e-mail: "Unbelievable. Not only are taxpayers going to be forced to shoulder the burden for these projects (which despite billions in spending over the years, have shown no economic benefits), but they're not even getting proper credit. At least call it 'The Taxpayers Library' or the 'Pennsylvania State Debt Center.'"

DeCoursey also notes that almost a third of the projects are going to unnamed recipients. 

While more than two-thirds of the projects slated by Rendell as top economic development priorities did list the companies or projects or institutions receiving the funds, 32 percent did not. ...

Benefield replied by e-mail: "Incredible. I think taxpayers would be outraged to find out where their money is going (or at least money borrowed against their future taxes) -- if they were allowed to know."

Yep, this is our government.

The RACP bills (HB 2289, which itemizes the projects, and HB 2290, which increases the debt limit) have yet to be passed, as of this writing, but is expected to be voted on today.



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