|Posted:||February 5, 2020 01:17 PM|
|From:||Representative John A. Lawrence|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||COSPONSOR MEMO - Funding Our State Police|
Paying for our State Police is an important responsibility of state government. For many years, the General Assembly has been funding the Pennsylvania State Police largely through transfers from the gas tax, with the remainder coming from the General Fund. Meanwhile, revenue generated by traffic tickets written by State Police goes not to fund the State Police, but to the General Fund. This shell game of funding is far too common in State Government, and frankly it is tough to justify. This proposal will start to wean State Police funding off the gas tax by redirecting revenue generated from traffic tickets into a dedicated fund to pay for the State Police.
Nearly three quarters of the budget for the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) comes from the gas tax paid at the pump. While gas tax monies have gone to pay for State Police coverage since the 1960's, and the legislature has committed to slowly reducing the dependence of police funding on the gas tax, I believe we need to look at additional options. Drivers who pay the gas tax believe that money is going to fix broken roads in Pennsylvania - but this year, about $750 million in gas tax money went instead to pay for the State Police.
In the near future, I plan on introducing legislation that would allocate the fine revenue generated from vehicle offenses to assist with funding the State Police. Under this proposal, fine revenue currently going directly to the General Fund would instead go to a restricted-receipts account exclusively for funding the PSP. Currently, portions of fine revenue for vehicle offenses are deposited to the General Fund or the respective municipality. Incredibly, virtually zero dollars go to the State Police, who are charged with enforcing traffic laws. This proposal provides more direct funding for the State Police without implementing a new tax on Commonwealth citizens.
To be clear, this legislation is not a silver bullet for police funding, but I believe it is a step in the right direction. Currently, the gas tax pays for the police, and revenue from police-generated tickets goes to the General Fund. This proposal will leave more gas tax money to pay for roads, while at least partially paying for state police with revenue generated by state police enforcement.
This legislation is part of the House Transportation Task Force’s package of bills that is responsible for finding innovative ways to fund transportation in the Commonwealth. I would appreciate your support on this initiative.
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Introduced as HB2066