State Employees Take Taxpayer-Funded Trips

Team 4 has an amazing exposé of taxpayer-funded travel by Pennsylvania state employees, in particular the gaming control board–after a travel ban was implement.  Here are some of the more outrageous facts:

Five top Gaming Control Board officials flew to Rome for an international gaming conference. They stayed at this luxurious hotel, costing $434 per night.

They got $365 a day for meals — which, under state rules, they did not have to account for. But some of it was spent at the pool bar, according to receipts obtained by Team 4. …

Despite such trips, Rendell says out-of-state travel is way down since the travel ban.  … But that’s not what travel records show.We checked the numbers on all travel since the ban started. We looked at the top out-of-state destinations — Florida, San Francisco, Las Vegas — as well as foreign trips. Last year, before the travel ban, state employees spent $244,800 going there. And in the same time period after the ban, they spent almost exactly the same amount — $244,600.

But hey, the state budget is “cut to the bone”, right?

One additional comment: the article notes, “The gaming board says its travel costs are covered by casinos.”

Is this the same Gaming Control Board which had to borrow money from the Property Tax Relief fund to meets its costs?  The same one that has frequently had budgetary over-runs and gotten more funding?  The same one with fat paychecks (mostly for people moving from other state agencies), extravagant perks, car leases for part-time employees, and a shoddy record of performance?

If government taking a percentage of net losses by gamblers isn’t a tax, what is? Gaming money is taxpayer money. 

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