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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 16, 2014 10:40 AM
From: Senator Camera Bartolotta
To: All Senate members
Subject: Taxpayer Protection Act - Constitutional Amendment
In the near future, I will introduce legislation amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to effectuate the provisions of the “Taxpayer Protection Act” which was introduced last session by Senator Folmer in the form of Senate Bill 7. I believe amending the state constitution is necessary to ensure the Taxpayer Protection Act’s provisions are established permanently and cannot be altered or diminished in the future.

My bill seeks to limit the growth of state spending by indexing it to two objective standards of measure, with the lower of the two determining the rate of spending. The standards of measure are:

· The average change in personal income for the three preceding calendar years, OR;
· The average inflation rate plus the average percentage change in state population over the three preceding years (with exceptions for certain extraordinary circumstances).

The “Taxpayer Protection Act” would also require revenues collected in excess of amounts determined by this formula to be reallocated in the following manner:

· 25% of any moneys in excess of these limits be returned to the taxpayers;
· 25% be allocated to the Rainy Day Fund to help balance state budgets during trying economic times; and
· 50% to help pay down the unfunded liabilities of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) and the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS).

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, thirty states operate under a tax or expenditure limitation. Pennsylvania is in the minority of states having no controls.

Because this proposal requires amending the Pennsylvania Constitution, the legislation would require passage by the General Assembly in two consecutive legislative sessions before being placed on the ballot and receiving approval by voters.

If you have any questions regarding this proposal, please contact Colleen Greer at 787-1463 or cgreer@pasen.gov.

Introduced as SB70