HARRISBURG, Pa., June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Charles Zogby today announced sweeping reforms to the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, or RACP, which will now be known as the Pennsylvania Economic Growth Initiative.
The revised and improved program now features a strategic, merit-based selection process that focuses public investments on projects that have a clear, positive economic impact for the state and local communities, with a priority on attracting and retaining jobs.
"These important changes are much more than just a new name for an old program; they reflect Governor Corbett's insistence on positioning Pennsylvania to better compete in a global economy," Zogby said. "This program will allow us to invest in communities by focusing on projects that will create jobs and strengthen our economy."
The redesigned program will have a clearly defined application process with published guidelines and procedures, a merit-based evaluation and selection system, increased transparency, and will maintain thorough monitoring, measurement and reporting, including posting all applicants and selected projects on the Office of Budget's website.
The new process will introduce regularity and dependability to the selection and release of program funds. Projects will now be selected through an objective, merit-based system which will prioritize large, regional economic development projects; projects promising the greatest financial benefit to Pennsylvania's economy; projects that will have the greatest impact in job creation and retention; projects that maximize generation of new tax revenue and projects that demonstrate long-term sustainability.
The program will also prioritize "shovel-ready" projects set to begin construction in 365 days or fewer; and will favor those projects that leverage maximum private investment.
"This newly improved program will allow us to retire old debt instead of saddling it onto our children," Zogby said.
Zogby said that under previous administrations, RACP spending had grown to a level of debt borrowing that had become unsustainable for the state and its taxpayers, growing from $400 million in 1986 to slightly more than $4 billion in 2010. He also said that the program had strayed considerably from its intended purpose of encouraging and assisting in regional economic development projects.
The funding will now be set at about $125 million each year, with releases being set at a much lower level than in previous years. All projects still on the legislative authorization list will have to meet the new program criteria.
For more information, visit the Budget Office online at www.budget.state.pa.us and select the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program link. For statutory and legislative purposes, the program will continue to be known as the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.
Media contact: Eric Shirk, 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Budget