What’s a billion among friends?

    Pete DeCoursey of the online service Capitolwire has an interesting perspective on the standoff between Gov. Rendell and two state officials who are holding up plans for a $1 billion bond issue.

    Rendell wants to borrow the money to fund infrastructure and other projects, including help for the Barnes Foundation and the Kimmel Center. Auditor General Jack Wagner and State Treasurer Rob McCord aren’t so sure the state can afford the $82 million a year bond payments, and want the incoming governor’s input on the decision.

    DeCoursey says while Wagner and McCord can prevent the bond sale, they can’t stop the guv from committing the state to the projects it proposes to fund:

    “As long as the state remains within its overall debt ceilings for various project categories, Rendell can continue to make commitments and sign contracts,” DeCoursey writes. “If the other parties hold up their ends, then the state is legally obligated to find the money eventually, or get sued – and have to settle or lose.”

    John Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News notes a law firm with ties to Rendell will do well in this bond sale. He suggests a sensible course might be to pare down the borrowing to cover only critical public safety and infrastructure projects. You can read Baer’s column here.

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