2009-02-05 / Local & State

Sen. Eichelberger Introduces "Earmark" Reform For Harrisburg

Resolution requires moratorium on discretionar y spending

Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. announced Monday his intention to introduce a resolution in the Senate that will call for a oneyear moratorium on all "discretionary spending," or what is commonly referred to as Walking Around Money (WAMs). During the moratorium, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee is being directed to conduct a study of each line item in the General Fund budget to determine which lines contain this discretionary money.

"Given the looming budget deficit and current economic climate, something like this should be a no-brainer. The 2007-2008 budget passed both chambers with a large portion of this money removed, so there's obviously an appetite in the Legislature to get this stuff out. Well, there's no time like right now to do it," says Eichelberger.

The senator indicated that it is nearly impossible to determine specifically which line items contain funds that are considered discretionary, although the most commonly referred line is the community revitalization line item in the budget of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). The resolution would require this line item to receive an appropriation of $0, along with any others that are easily identifiable by the Legislature. The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee would then conduct a study over the next year to determine the source of all discretionary money so that the Legislature could take more permanent action in the future.

A memo requesting other senators to cosponsor the resolution has been sent out, with introduction of the resolution expected in the coming weeks.

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