Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

OMG: State bill would reform RACP funds

A state representative has proposed a bill that would bring a little sunshine to the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). Put another way: The very type of person who stands to benefit from keeping RACP behind closed doors is seeking to make it more transparent. OMG.

OMG: State bill would reform RACP funds

State Rep. Rosita Youngblood
State Rep. Rosita Youngblood

A state representative has proposed a bill that would bring a little sunshine to the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). Put another way: The very type of person who stands to benefit from keeping RACP behind closed doors is seeking to make it more transparent. OMG.

RACP grants have long been criticized as nothing more than “walking-around money” for legislators to dole out to their friends and campaign donors. Remember the Arlen Specter Library and the John P. Murtha Center for Public Policy? RACP funds. And the $3 million grant that the Corbett administration approved for Jerry Sandusky’s charity? Again, RACP.

State Rep. Rosita Youngblood (D-Phila.) introduced a bill last week that would reform the RACP process in three main ways:

• Require recipients to hold at least one public meeting in the community where the project will be done.

• Prohibit lame-duck governors from doling out RACP funds as goodbye gifts to political supporters. 

• Force the budget secretary to tell the state senator and state representative when funding has been approved for a project in their area.

We have one suggestion: Add wording that would make it illegal for people to keep pronouncing the funds “R-Cap.”

Read more about Youngblood’s bill on her website.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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