From State Senator Mike Folmer:
How much are we spending?
My website includes a rolling tally of tax dollars the state spends every second –$877 – under the $27.6 billion 2012 – 2013 general fund budget. However, the general fund is only one component of state spending. Add in other expenditures such as the lottery fund; motor license fund; racing and gaming funds; fish, boat and keystone recreation, park & conservation funds; Banking & Securities Department Fund; farm products fund; and tobacco settlement fund, and combined them with federal dollars and the capital budget, you get a nearly $65 billion budget. This spending equates to:
- $178 million per day
- $7.4 million per hour
- $123,668 per minute
- $2,061 per second
To put this spending in perspective, in the time it takes you to read this article, the state would have already spent nearly $28,000. It’s difficult to comprehend and fully understand how much and where tax dollars are spent. That’s why I remain such a staunch advocate for you – the taxpayer – and work to ensure we squeeze every penny out of each tax dollar before we spend, tax, or borrow more.
Speaking of spending…
Since I have been in office I have often voted against the capital budget, which spends tax dollars on public improvement projects, furniture and equipment, transportation projects, redevelopment assistance projects, flood control projects, highway projects, and other capital financing.
My vote this year was no different. Senator Eichelberger and I were the only two no votes on the 2012 – 2013 Capital Budget, Senate Bill 1460. The bill would set the maximum bond indebtedness at $1.67 billion and authorize maximum expenditures at the following amounts:
- Public improvement projects: $995 million
- Furniture and equipment projects: $40 million
- Transportation assistance projects: $210 million
- Redevelopment assistance projects: $345 million
- Bridge projects: $85 million
Senate Bill 1460 is in the House.
Follow the spending…
Although Senate Bill 1460 does not itemize individual capital projects, at some point legislation will be needed to provide this detail. The 2010 – 2011 Capital Budget was 443 pages long. The sheer volume of information makes it difficult to follow where and how the money is being spent, but the Office of the Budget does provide some transparency.
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai has proposed House Bill 2175, legislation to decrease the debt limit for Redevelopment Assistance Capital Projects (RACP) from $4.5 billion to $3.5 billion. The bill would also redefine the RACP application process; provide greater itemization of capital projects; increase transparency of the RACP review process; and impose an RACP moratorium on outgoing Governors.