Under Gov. Wolf's administration, state spending has risen by $2.6 billion. For context, spending over the previous eight years grew by $2.7 billion.
Total spending would be higher if it weren’t for fiscally conservative lawmakers who opposed the governor’s budget requests. However, budgets approved by the legislature have not completely kept spending in check.
Failure to restrain spending makes the Taxpayer Protection Act (TPA) all the more necessary.
The TPA can reduce unsustainable surges in spending by capping this growth to an index of inflation plus population. The TPA index for the current fiscal year is 1.02 percent, which allows for a $305 million spending increase. This cap would have required lawmakers to prioritize spending. Without the TPA in place, an unusually large spending increase was the end result.
Now, tax hikes accompanying higher spending levels are having dramatic consequences for Pennsylvania residents. Further harm is possible if state government doesn’t embrace a course correction toward fiscal responsibility. A correction starts with the TPA, which will make a real difference in the lives of working people.
Here’s how: If the TPA were law during the last two fiscal years, spending would have increased by approximately $800 million—a savings of $1.9 billion, or $150 for every Pennsylvanian. If the TPA were law since 2000, taxpayers would have realized a cumulative savings of more than $22.2 billion or $1,738 per person.
With Harrisburg a little leaner, Pennsylvanians will have an easier time paying their bills, starting a business, or giving their employees a raise. This shift of economic power from government to Pennsylvanians is the key to economic prosperity.