PA House Authorizes New Debt for Corporate Welfare

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania House approved legislation – HB 2399 – to allow the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) to borrow and additional $50 to $100 million for additional “economic development projects.” Two other bills, HB 2394 and HB 2401 would redirect $60 million of CFA funds.  All votes were along party lines, with only House Democrats voting for the measures.

The CFA is one of many state agencies allowed to incur debt, which is not reported when Gov. Rendell talks about “state debt.” Indeed, debt by Pennsylvania state agencies and authorities has grown by 93% under Gov. Rendell, to $33 billion. This represents $2,614 for every resident – or over $10,000 per family of four.

These borrowing for corporate welfare schemes have failed to improved Pennsylvania’s economy. Pennsylvania continues to rank near the bottom in measures of our state economy, and Pennsylvania lags the nation in economic growth.

Yet Pennsylvania spends more than any other state in the nation except Ohio in “economic development incentives” at over $750 million per year, according to data from the Council for Community and Economic Research


Expenditures by Functional Economic Development Program Area for FY 2010
Top Ten States
Rank State Total Economic Development Operating Budget
1 OHIO $860,594,397
2 PENNSYLVANIA $754,651,000
3 CALIFORNIA $734,225,000
4 TEXAS $598,136,155
5 NEW YORK $589,496,820
6 LOUISIANA $521,912,172
7 NEW JERSEY $496,188,000
8 ARKANSAS $406,054,356
9 MASSACHUSETTS $391,293,021
10 MICHIGAN $355,149,300
Source: State Economic Development Expenditure Database, The Council for Community and Economic Research (