Jan 13, 2021, Harrisburg, Pa. — Today the House State Government Committee advanced the Taxpayer Protection Act, which would put guardrails on state spending growth to protect Pennsylvanians from tax hikes.
“We are glad to see the House State Government Committee act so swiftly to prioritize the fiscal health of the commonwealth at a time when responsible financial habits are needed more than ever,” said Nathan Benefield, vice president & COO for the Commonwealth Foundation. “The Taxpayer Protection Act promises an end to the state government’s common practice of spending far beyond what Pennsylvanians can afford. Enacting this bill will protect families and businesses from dangerous tax hikes as they try to recover from the economic pain caused by the COVID-19 economic downturn.”
HB 71, sponsored by Rep. Ryan Warner, would amend the state constitution to cap state spending growth at an average combined rate of inflation and population growth over a three-year period.
Sen. Camera Bartolotta is introducing similar legislation in the state Senate.
Absent these reasonable limits, state spending growth has skyrocketed 84 percent since 2000, far outpacing economic growth. As a result, Pennsylvania had one of the smallest rainy day funds in the country going into the COVID-19 pandemic.
A 2019 statewide poll of Pennsylvania likely voters showed universal support for common-sense limits on state spending growth: Republicans, Democrats, and independents each reported at least 67% support for the measure.
Because the bill amends the state constitution, it must be passed by both houses of the Legislature in two consecutive legislative sessions, then put before voters in a referendum before it becomes law.
For more facts on the Taxpayer Protection Act read our policy backgrounder.
Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Michael Torres 850-619-2737 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.
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