Pennsylvania’s top fiscal watchdog says job-creation programs need more accountability to ensure taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck.
An audit covering the end of former Gov. Ed Rendell’s administration, before Tom Corbett’s team was in place, found squishy jobs figures among businesses that received nearly $213 million in grants and loans.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said that while nearly 97 percent of promised jobs were delivered by all the state-assisted businesses, the count relies on affidavits from the participating companies, not their actual payroll records.
“We can’t independently verify it,” DePasquale said. “I do know that it’s not higher, because nobody’s going to under-report.”
Steve Kratz, spokesman for DCED, said the agency will consider requiring payroll records to verify jobs figures.
The audit report also recommends imposing more penalties on businesses that miss their marks after receiving state grants or loans. Kratz said DCED does try to hold businesses accountable by working with them.
“We just don’t want to cut them off. We’ll look at it on a case-by-case basis, to see if maybe they need an extension,” Kratz said. “And in cases where they don’t meet requirements… we do go after them for claw-backs, to try and get funds back.”