HARRISBURG – Senators Mike Folmer (R-48) and Camera Bartolotta (R-46) announced plans today to introduce legislation that would protect taxpayers by limiting the growth of state spending.
Folmer’s legislation, the Taxpayer Protection Act, would require the state to enact sensible controls to prevent unchecked growth in state spending. If the state collects revenue that exceeds the amount needed to fund the state budget, then the excess funds would be used to pay down pension obligations, boost budgetary reserves and reduce the Personal Income Tax rate.
“Government has grown faster than taxpayers’ abilities to pay: the state budget spends $920.43 a second – $2,275.63 per person,” Folmer said. “As government spending, borrowing, and taxing continues to grow, the burdens on ‘We the People’ continue to rise. That’s why I am again introducing my ‘Taxpayer Protection Act’, which would limit – not reduce – the growth of state spending.”
Bartolotta’s proposal would amend the state Constitution to prevent lawmakers from breaching or repealing spending limits with a simple majority vote in the future. In order to amend the state Constitution, the legislation would have to receive approval from the Senate and the House of Representatives in two consecutive legislative sessions and pass a referendum of state voters.
“In government, business or even household finances, it can be extremely dangerous to spend more money with no regard for the revenue that is coming in,” Bartolotta said. “Setting commonsense controls will force lawmakers to prioritize spending and ensure our state government lives within its means.”
“Taxpayers expect their elected officials to safeguard the money they send to Harrisburg for schools, infrastructure and other vital government programs,” Bartolotta said. “They deserve the peace of mind to know that state government is making the most of that money and not taking more than is absolutely necessary.”
General Fund spending has more than tripled over the past 30 years, and the cost of state government has grown by 85 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars since 1970. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states operate under a tax or expenditure limitation. Pennsylvania is in the minority of states having no spending controls in place.