Original jurisdiction in case of Pennsylvania Parent Assistance Authority v. Grace Sloan, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Joseph J. Carlin, for plaintiff.
J. Justin Blewitt, Jr., Deputy Attorney General, with him Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for defendant.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt and DiSalle. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 160]
The Pennsylvania Parent Assistance Authority (PPAA) petitioned us in July, 1975 to grant preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against the then State Treasurer (Treasurer) by restraining her from transferring money from the Parent Reimbursement Fund to the Commonwealth's General Fund and by directing her to honor vouchers for PPAA's administrative expenses. After a hearing, a preliminary injunction was denied.*fn1 A second request for preliminary injunctive relief was subsequently filed, and after a second hearing, this was also denied.*fn2 Presently before us are preliminary objections to the PPAA's request for equitable relief.
In 1971, our legislature enacted the Parent Reimbursement Act for Nonpublic Education*fn3 (Act) which provided a plan for tuition reimbursement to parents
[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 161]
sending their children to nonpublic schools. The PPAA was created to administer the program, and a Parent Reimbursement Fund (Fund) was established from the proceeds of a tax on cigarettes. The tuition reimbursement plan was subsequently declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in Sloan v. Lemon, 413 U.S. 825, rehearing denied, 414 U.S. 881 (1973). The PPAA has stipulated that parents of children attending nonpublic schools are not entitled to tuition reimbursement for any period prior to the determination of the Act's unconstitutionality and has withdrawn its first count restraining the Treasurer from transferring Fund money to the General Fund pursuant to specific legislation.*fn4 It argues, nevertheless, that this Court may order the Treasurer to honor its vouchers for the payment of expenses incident to the closing of its offices. These vouchers represent requests for payment of such outstanding debts as rent on the PPAA's office, its telephone bill, salaries for temporary clerical help, and counsel fees. The Treasurer has filed a preliminary objection in the nature of a demurrer on the basis that this second count fails to state a cause of action for which relief may be granted in equity.
We must agree that the Treasurer has no legal authority to pay the vouchers in question here. Nor do we have the power to order their payment. As we have recently stated in Shapp v. Sloan, 27 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 312, 323,
[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 162367]
A.2d 791, 797-8 (1976); aff'd, Pa. , A.2d (Nos. 4, 214 January Term 1977, 586 January Term 1976, filed July 19, 1978).
In our opinion, Article III, Section 24, of our Constitution mandates that money paid into the State Treasury, whether derived from State taxation or any other source, may be paid out of the State Treasury only by legislative action in the form of any appropriation act or in the form of other ...