HARRISBURG – The Senate Intergovernmental Affairs Committee approved a bill today sponsored by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) that would create a higher level of accountability for state grants and ensure any surplus money awarded for grant projects is returned to the state.
Senate Bill 1034 would ensure that state grant funding is used for projects only after all other sources of funding are exhausted. If the total funds received from all state, federal and private sources exceeds the cost of the project, grant recipients would be required to pay back the excess funds to the state, with interest.
The bill would also ensure state grant funds used to contract for services or products costing more than $10,000 will be competitively bid. State grant funds would also be prohibited from being used to award bonuses to any person or entity.
The legislation comes in response to a 2017 audit that revealed a $10 million grant awarded by the state Department of Community and Economic Development resulted in a $2.5 million surplus – none of which was returned to state taxpayers.
“Taxpayers deserve to know that every dollar invested in state grant programs is spent wisely, and not treated as a piggybank to be raided by entities receiving state money,” Phillips-Hill said. “State agencies that award these grants need to play a stronger role in monitoring how the money is used and determining whether the entire amount of the grant is necessary to complete the project. Otherwise we risk seeing millions of taxpayer dollars lost to waste, fraud and mismanagement.”
Phillips-Hill’s bill would also set stricter standards for grant applications, including requirements for applicants to search for and document other funding sources. State agencies would also be required to more closely monitor grant projects and conduct thorough and precise close-out audits to ensure all requirements are being met by the awardee.
Senate Bill 1034 was sent to the full Senate for consideration.