Audit finds Pa. lawmakers’ surplus reaches $161 million

    The Pennsylvania Legislature’s pool of reserve cash grew for a second straight year.

    The Legislative Audit Advisory Commission said Monday that an outside audit of the Legislature’s finances showed that the surplus grew to $161 million, as of last June 30.

    Last year’s audit showed the legislative reserve had swelled to $154 million from $140 million the previous year, reversing a downward trend that began in 2006.

    The Legislature has ignored recommendations by auditors that it adopt a formal policy on the appropriate amount of the reserve.

    Top lawmakers justify the reserve as insurance against a budget standoff with the governor. But the Legislature has created no special rules to limit the use of the money, and such a large and unfettered surplus is nearly unheard of in other states.

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