Corbett tightens grant awards, process in Pa.

    Some Pennsylvania lawmakers are hoping to see long-lasting reforms in the way a grant program is managed by the governor’s office.

    A plan to overhaul it has passed the state House.

    Gov. Tom Corbett’s office isn’t waiting on the Senate, though, and has implemented its own reforms, such as new criteria for evaluating grant applications.

    Such reforms were apparent as he worked to secure a grant in his district for a hospital’s new electronic data center, said Rep. Glen Grell, R-Cumberland.

    “The review of this grant was much more merit-based, both in terms of the economic development aspect of it as well as the public safety community safety component,” he said. “So I think the governor is doing in his review of these applications a lot of what the legislation tried to force governors to do.”

    Grell spoke at an event at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, one of 54 recipients of the latest round of grants awarded by the governor’s office, totaling nearly $125 million.

    That’s far below the overall grant amounts before the administration adopted new protocol, but Grell says he still thinks the Legislature should make such changes law, so future administrations have to play by the same rules.

    Opponents suggest Pennsylvania shouldn’t be tightening grant program purse strings when the state needs to help create jobs.

    The latest round of grant recipients includes business parks, many hospital construction projects, and the Philadelphia Zoo.

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