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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 14, 2016 01:49 PM
From: Senator Camera Bartolotta
To: All Senate members
Subject: Taxpayer Protection Act - Constitutional Amendment
In the near future, I will reintroduce legislation amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to establish the “Taxpayer Protection Act” to control future increases in state spending. This legislation was Senate Bill 70 from last session which was co-sponsored by Senators Eichelberger, Alloway, Argall, Folmer, Vulakovich, Scarnati, Gordner, Vogel, Aument, Ward, Rafferty, Hutchinson, Stefano, Mensch, White, Wagner, Brooks and Browne.

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 the proposal requires amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to make this change permanent, 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.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this bill.

Introduced as SB173