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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 25, 2019 11:42 AM
From: Representative Kerry A. Benninghoff
To: All House members
Subject: Explanation of Ballot Questions
The Pennsylvania Constitution requires that questions be submitted to the voters for approval before two things may occur:
  1. The incurring of public debt
  2. An amendment of the state Constitution
Since 1958, there have been more than 20 borrowing referendum questions placed on the ballot for review, yet presently, little-to-no- background information is provided to the public, which may have an adverse impact on our communities at the expense of uninformed taxpayers.

When the Commonwealth proposes to incur public debt through a bond or borrowing measure, the financial repercussions of such a measure should be clearly provided to the voters. My legislation will amend the Pennsylvania Election Code to require all state-wide and local-level ballot referendum questions involving a bond or borrowing measure to have a fiscal note included within the question, outlining specific information as it relates to the request.

The information for the fiscal note will be developed by the Office of the Budget for state-wide questions. For local-level questions, the local government unit that petitions for the ballot question will develop the fiscal note.

Introduced as HB429