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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Boondoggle Alert

This story could serve as the paradigm for all government "investment" projects.

"HARRISBURG—Gov. Ed Rendell said Tuesday the state is taking action on several fronts to help the struggling Mountain Laurel Center for the Performing Arts get back on its feet financially.

"The governor told Ottaway News Service that the state's effort to help Mountain Laurel includes assembling a $500,000 kitty to help the center meet operating expenses in the upcoming concert season, directing Public Financial Management, the state's financial advisor, to offer advice to arts center officials on restructuring their financing and persuading the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend its guarantee of the bond package arranged by Dolphin & Bradbury, a Philadelphia municipal bond house....

"Rendell's remarks provide confirmation for the news last week that the center in Bushkill plans to draw on $375,000 in state funds and a projected $750,000 in revenues from the new Pike County hotel room tax to offer a season of shows this summer."

So is this some unfortunate mom-and-pop business that was hit with an unforeseeable disaster? "The arts center was built with the help of a $15 million state capital redevelopment assistance grant awarded by former Gov. Tom Ridge. The center ran out of money shortly after it opened and had to cancel its performances last year."

After getting a $15 million subsidy, the center ran out of money as soon as it opened!

Aren't you glad the state is "investing" our money for us?

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