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Fontana Bill Would Disband “Redundant and Unecessary” ICA in Pittsburgh
On September 15, 2015
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 15, 2015 – Calling Pittsburgh’s state-imposed Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) “unnecessary, redundant and a waste of taxpayer dollars,” State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana today announced legislation that would disband the authority.
“The ICA has outlived both its purpose and need,” Fontana said. “The authority has morphed into a bureaucracy bent on impeding Pittsburgh’s economic resurgence, doing the bidding of Harrisburg’s GOP powerbrokers, and going to ridiculous lengths to continue operating beyond its legal expiration date.”
The Brookline lawmaker said the 11-year-old ICA was originally intended to exist for seven years while Pittsburgh accomplished certain budgetary and financial planning goals. With those goals already in place, he said the state Department of Community and Economic Development should have acted to dissolve the ICA. However, Fontana said authority leaders have “invented” reasons to continue their operations.
“Meanwhile, taxpayers shell out $250,000 every year to keep the ICA stumbling along,” Fontana said. “Adding insult to injury, the city already has independent fiscal oversight in place — via Act 47. Thus, ICA is an unnecessary second layer of oversight.”
Fontana also criticized the ICA for overreaching into city affairs and impeding local elected leaders’ efforts to continue Pittsburgh’s economic resurgence. He said the authority is arbitrarily holding up the city’s share of $11 million in local gaming proceeds that is used to fund a wide range of community and economic development initiatives.
“The people of Pittsburgh deserve to have the city’s affairs run by the people they elected, not by appointed bureaucrats dependent on Harrisburg power brokers,” Fontana said. “While the ICA’s stated interest in assuring fiscal stability and sound financial practices are legitimate goals, I believe our local leaders have already demonstrated that kind of solid financial strategy in transforming Pittsburgh from the brink of bankruptcy to an enviable level of prosperity and economic promise.
“While I readily credit the ICA for whatever role it played in this achievement, I can no longer justify keeping this unnecessary, disruptive and intrusive state bureaucracy in place.”
Fontana added that he is pleased by state Auditor General Eugene DePasqaule’s announcement today that his office will audit ICA.
“No state or local agency should be immune from an open and honest accounting of its actions and financial practices,” Fontana said.
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