Conservative Think Tank Says Earmarks in PA up 21 Million Dollars This Year

Posted by Katie Meyer | WITF on

The constitution says if lawmakers want to give money to a specific charitable or educational organization that’s not under state control, they have to approve it by a two-thirds majority.

That’s hard to do. But there’s a way around it.

If you read through the budget, you’ll find allocations made, for instance, to a “community college in a county of the fourth class with a population of at least 175,000, but not more than 190,000.”

The Commonwealth Foundation says that’s probably going to Butler County Community College.

Vice President Steve Bloom, a former GOP representative, says it’s vague enough to probably pass constitutional muster, but the money can really only apply to one place.

He adds, earmarks frustrated him as a lawmaker.

“You could read the language, but to decipher exactly what that language meant, there often wasn’t enough time for rank-and-file members to do that.”

Legislative leaders tend to defend earmarks. A spokeswoman for Senate Republicans maintains lawmakers “have a right to have priorities in the budget.”

 

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