A taxpayer-funded bash for center? Pileggi says no

Forgive the Pennsylvania Convention Center's board if it is in a partying mood, having nearly completed a nearly $800 million expansion.

But forgive a powerful state senator, too, for his more somber thoughts on plans to use a $1.75 million state grant this summer to celebrate the moment.

"My position is simple," Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware) wrote the board last week. "No taxpayer funds should be spent on a self-congratulatory party or celebration."

Pileggi wrote to clarify what he'd meant when he said two weeks ago that "some expenditure" could be appropriate to "showcase" the new venue. The board has selected an event planner; there is talk of mini-events for construction workers, area businesses and neighborhoods, and the elected officials who helped make it happen.

Nobody should rent tuxedos yet, given the stiff fiscal winds blowing from Wisconsin to New Jersey.

If state money is spent, Pileggi wrote, "the focus should, of course, be on those who book conventions and could bring business to the Center."

But that's all, folks: "While an appropriate ceremony to mark the occasion of opening the expanded Convention Center may be worthwhile, the use of taxpayer funds on a party or celebration is simply not right."


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