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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 23, 2019 09:47 AM
From: Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill
To: All Senate members
Subject: Constitutional amendment clarifying supplemental spending approval
In the near future, I will introduce a proposed constitutional amendment to require any supplemental spending to be approved in a standalone bill by the General Assembly.

In the 2018-19 Fiscal Year, Governor Wolf spent more than $670 million over the agreed-to budget that he signed into law on June 22, 2019. Supplemental spending is not exclusive to Governor Wolf and has happened under governors from both parties. This being said, regardless of political party or who the governor is, state government spending should be approved by the legislature.

Included in the Administrative Code (Act 15 of 2019) was a provision requiring the governor to provide the chairs of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees with a written statement of the amounts requested above the agreed-to appropriations as well as an explanation for the need for the supplemental budget. This is a great start.

This proposed constitutional amendment will build on good-government reforms that were supported by Governor Wolf by allowing voters to decide if each supplemental spending bill should be voted on in a standalone bill.

Specifically, my bill proposes to amend Article III, Section 11 of the state Constitution to require general appropriations bills to embrace nothing but appropriations for a single fiscal year. The proposed amendment would include supplemental appropriations for a prior fiscal year under the list of items that must be made under separate bills.

Please join me in supporting this reform to give voters the option to decide on greater transparency in our state’s budgeting process.

Introduced as SB885