Every Pennsylvanian’s share of state and local debt increased by 20 percent over the last twelve years. In 2002, per capita debt totaled $8,693. Today, the total is a shade under $10,450.
This trend must be reversed. Future generations should not be forced to shoulder the consequences of present-day overspending. A greater debt burden means a lower standard of living and quality of life.
|Pennsylvania State & Local Government Debt|
|Debtor||Debt Outstanding||Per Person|
|State Agencies & Authorities||$39,471,300,000||$3,087|
|Sources: Governor’s Executive Budget (http://www.budget.state.pa.us) December 2014 data; PA Dept of Education (http://www.pde.state.pa.us) June 2013 data; U.S. Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov) 2012 data|
Acknowledging the importance of reining in state debt, a group of lawmakers introduced four pieces of legislation to begin chipping away at the nearly $134 billion behemoth. The following bills are the result of work done by the House GOP’s Debt Working Group:
- House Bill 928: Establishes annual borrowing limits on Redevelopment Assistance Capital Projects (RACP) and Public Improvement Projects (PIP).
- House Bill 929: Brings transparency to the debt issuance process by requiring the governor to provide a detailed report to the General Assembly describing the capital budget projects financed with debt.
- House Bill 930: Lowers the RACP debt ceiling by $50 million each year starting in 2018 until it reaches $2.95 billion in 2027. A similar reform passed back in 2013.
- House Bill 931: Requires legislative approval before entering into a leased-back debt or installment purchase agreement.