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July 28, 2009
When budget crisis hits, cut supermarkets, not stadiums
With the Pennsylvania state budget headed into the crapper, the impoverished Philadelphia suburb of Chester is still getting its $115 million soccer stadium, it looks like &mdash just not the supermarket that was supposed to come with it:
Up to $4 million was earmarked for the store last year, at the insistence of state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland.
"That was part of the deal," said Johnna Pro, spokeswoman for state House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans. "The supermarket [funding] was part of the whole soccer-stadium deal."
But Gov. Rendell decides what money is dispersed from the capital budget, and his office has been noncommittal.
"There are more projects listed in the capital budget than can possibly be funded," Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo said yesterday, as legislators remained locked in a budget stalemate.
Not that giving public money to retail outlets is usually that good an idea, either — it typically just shuffles spending around from one store to another — but you could make a case that Delaware County could really use some better ones than they have currently.