– Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) voiced support today at a Capitol news conference for legislation that would allow Pennsylvania voters to amend the state constitution to rein in government spending.
The measure, which Diamond is co-sponsoring, is known as the Taxpayer Protection Act. It has been introduced as House Bill 472
Flanked by a bipartisan coalition of legislators from both the House and Senate, Diamond said that runaway government spending can best be curbed by the people themselves.
“Pennsylvania is the 10th highest taxed state in the nation, a dramatic increase since 1991 when we were only 25th,” said Diamond. “Though progress was made in recent years, state spending has far outpaced inflation over the past two decades, bringing many tax-paying citizens to the breaking point. The time has come to give the people the power to force government to live within its means.”
If adopted, the proposed amendment to the state constitution would cap any increase in government spending to the rate of inflation and population growth. It would further require government to prioritize spending and establish a healthy Rainy Day Fund to balance the state budget in times of recession.
“A lot of the spending obligations we have today are the result of massive government expansions that occurred during boom times,” said Diamond. “Then, when economic conditions deteriorated, taxpayers were left footing the bill for larger government through severe tax hikes. This amendment would prevent this from occurring again, requiring any excess dollars collected to be used to pay down pension obligations or be returned directly to taxpayers through reduced income taxes, not grow government.”
Before voters have a final say, the Taxpayer Protection Act must first be approved by two successive general assemblies. The earliest a referendum could come to the public would be 2017.
Since regaining control of both chambers of the General Assembly in 2010, Republicans have crafted budgets that have been aligned with the overall principles of the Taxpayer Protection Act and that were signed into law by former Gov. Tom Corbett. There is, however, nothing binding future legislatures and governors from following the act’s guidelines – a fact that Diamond said necessitates the amendment’s passage.
For more information, please visit www.Rep.Diamond.com
Representative Russ Diamond
102nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ryan Travis, 717.260.6335