HARRISBURG – The Senate Finance Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to limit the growth of state spending, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46).
Senate Bill 116, also known as the Taxpayer Protection Act, would limit the growth in state spending based on inflation and population growth.
The bill would establish spending limits in the Pennsylvania Constitution to prevent lawmakers from breaching or repealing the law with a simple majority vote in the future.
If the state collects revenue that exceeds the amount needed to fund the state budget, then excess revenue could be set aside in the state’s Rainy Day Fund to reduce the need for future tax increases.
“In government, business or even household finances, it can be extremely dangerous to spend more money with no regard for the revenue that is coming in,” Bartolotta said.
“Setting commonsense spending controls will force lawmakers to prioritize spending and ensure our state government lives within its means.”
Bartolotta added that the state currently has just $23 million in its Rainy Day Fund – enough to fund state government operations for approximately six hours.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states operate under a tax or expenditure limitation. Pennsylvania is in the minority of states having no spending controls in place.
Bartolotta joined some of the state’s leading advocates for responsible government on Monday for a news conference in support of the Taxpayer Protection Act.
Highlights from the news conference are available on Bartolotta’s Web site at www.senatorbartolotta.com.
In order to amend the state Constitution, the bill would have to receive approval from the Senate and the House of Representatives in two consecutive legislative sessions and pass a referendum of state voters.
Senate Bill 116 was sent to the full Senate for consideration.