Gov. Rendell is pushing to issue $1 billion in new state debt before he leaves office in January. Of course, before the bonds are issued, either the Auditor General or the State Treasurer—Jack Wagner and Rob McCord, both independently elected Democrats—have to sign off on the plan.
However, both Wagner and McCord seem reluctant to approve the additional borrowing, noting the growing burden of state debt, and the largness of Gov. Rendell’s request, even compared with the spending spree’s of other lame-duck governors. Scott Detrow has the story.
Rendell’s spokesman, Gary Tuma, emails $400 million of the bond money would be used for public improvement projects like new prisons, flood protection efforts, dam repairs and construction projects at state parks and various schools. $200 million would go toward bridge repair projects, and $114 million would be used for other transportation efforts. Money would also be directed toward Pennvest and Pennworks water infrastructure projects, as well as Growing Greener efforts. $155 million is designated for previously approved RACP projects.
Indeed, Pennsylvania state debt has climbed dramatically under Gov. Rendell, and his use of debt for “economic development” (like the RACP program) has failed to generate the economic revitalization promised.