For Determining How Federal Stimulus Funds are Spent
Senate Republican leaders today announced their sponsorship of a resolution outlining core principles that the Senate will follow when determining how federal stimulus money will be spent in Pennsylvania.
The resolution is sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) Senate Majority Whip Jane Orie (R-Allegheny) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman (R-Centre).
“Although we still have to obtain more information on how the federal stimulus funds are used and what mandates or restrictions may apply, we want to set down certain guidelines to guide us through this process,” Senator Scarnati said. “Our main objective is to ensure that these funds are spent wisely and are used for the purpose they were intended – to create and preserve jobs and help stimulate the economy.”
“We can’t use the money frivolously, expand programs and benefits, or create new programs that will only cost taxpayers more in future years,” Senator Orie added. “We have to be careful and fiscally responsible on behalf of the taxpayers of this state.”
The senators said the General Assembly has the authority under the Pennsylvania Constitution and State law to determine how the federal funds should be appropriated.
They said that funding should be distributed based on the following principles:
**Maximize the use of the funds to address current deficits and revenue shortfalls.
**Avoid the permanent expansion of current programs and the creation of new programs and ensure funds are appropriated to programs that will most efficiently utilize the money to stimulate the economy, create and preserve jobs and protect taxpayers.
**Avoid the acceptance of federal stimulus funds that require the permanent expansion of benefits and thereby place additional costs on the Commonwealth and its taxpayers.
“These basic tenets will ensure that the Senate moves ahead judiciously in determining how to best use the federal stimulus resources to help Pennsylvania residents and to invest wisely in our future,” said Senator Pileggi.
“Like most states, Pennsylvania is facing tough economic times and a major revenue shortfall, so the stimulus money can be critical to helping us make ends meet and keep our economy moving forward,” Senator Corman said. “Such a large infusion of federal dollars requires a careful approach that works toward short-term goals while avoiding long-term, costly commitments that will burden taxpayers in the future.”
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