Pa. Legislature’s spending rose, surplus fell

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A new audit says overall spending by the General Assembly increased last year, but the year-end surplus declined.

The report released Wednesday by the Legislative Audit Advisory Commission said total legislative spending was nearly $307 million in the year that ended in June, an $8 million increase.

The surplus, which lawmakers maintain as insurance in case of a budget stand-off with the governor, totaled $140 million, down by about $43 million from the previous year.

The auditors suggest the House do away with the checkbooks controlled by committee chairmen, arguing that spending should be funneled through a central system. They also say the House should consider standardizing leave policies, as the Senate has already done.

The largest category is payroll and benefits, which cost the public $249 million last year.

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