In February of this year Senator Folmer re-introduced the Taxpayer Protection Act (Senate Bill 7) which would go a long way in restoring accountability to the General Assembly. When adjusted for inflation, total state spending will have increased by approximately $13,800 per family of four from 1970 through 2015. In spite of the growth in spending, Pennsylvania’s economic growth has seen us constantly in the bottom 5%.
One important aspect of the Taxpayer Protection Act is that it limits future spending to rate of inflation coupled with population growth setting a course for responsible budgets with sustainable levels of growth in both good economic times and bad, avoiding budgets that have resulted in the deficits of recent years. The Taxpayer Protection Act would also provide a Rainy Day Fund where 25% of taxes collected above estimated spending levels would be placed into that Fund which could be used to balance the budget during years when revenue growth does not meet projections. It also creates a process where excess state tax revenues would be used to reduce Personal Income Tax rates instead of being diverted into new spending.
These things might sound familiar. The School Property Tax Independence Act (SB 76) does the same thing as it eliminates the School Property Tax by shifting to a 4.36 PIT and an increase in the Sales Tax from 6% to 7%. It also caps future education spending to the rate of inflation, creates a cushion in case of bad economic times and provides for reductions in the PIT if the revenue exceeds 6% of the needs according to the education funding. We’ll see things like that in bills where the people of the Commonwealth take a priority in consideration of budget spending. That’s accountability!
We need more accountability to the taxpayers in this state if we are going to turn the economic picture of this state around and both of these bills go a long way in putting us back on that course. As of February 23 Senators Elder Vogel, John Eichelberger, Kim Ward, Scott Hutchinson, Randy Vulakovich, Camera Bartolatta, Patrick Browne, John Gordner, Richard Alloway, Ryan Aument, Patrick Stefano, Donald White, Joseph Scarnati and John Rafferty were listed as co-introducers of the SB 7, The Taxpayers Protection Act.
The legislation is in the Finance Committee which consists of Eichelberger, Hutchinson, Scarnati, Aument, Browne, Vance Ward as the majority with Blake, Haywood, Teplitz and Wozniak in the minority committee positions. Eichelberger, Hutchinson, Scarnati, Aument, Browne, and Ward, all having put their names to this bill should see this bill go through the Finance Committee but it can use our help.
The Commonwealth Foundation had prepared a PDF last year on key points in the legislation; You can still access that filer:
You can also access the bill here:
We’ve taken the work of this as far as looking up finance Committee members contact information. Contact members of the Finance Committee and ask them to move this bill. Phone Calls or office visits are the most sure way to make certain the legislators hear your voice. A written letter is the next best contact. Names marked with an asterisk (*) are already supporting the legislation so be sure to thank them for their support.
- John Eichelberger* (Majority Chair) – (717) 787-5490; firstname.lastname@example.org
Senate Box 203030, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3030. Room: 169 Main Capitol
- John Blake (Minority Chair) – (717) 787-6481; email@example.com
Senate Box 203022, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3022. Room: 17 East Wing
- Scott Hutchinson* (Vice Chair) – (717) 787-9684;
Senate Box 203021, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3021. Room: 170 Main Capitol
- Joe Scarnati* (Ex-Officer) – (717) 787-7084; firstname.lastname@example.org
Senate Box 203025, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3025. Room: 292 Main Capitol
- Ryan Aument* – (717) 787-4420; email@example.com
Senate Box 203036, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3036. Room: 352 Main Capitol
- Patrick Browne* – (717) 787-1349; firstname.lastname@example.org
Senate Box 203016, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3016. Room: 281 Main Capitol
- Patricia Vance – (717) 787-8524; email@example.com
Senate Box 203031, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3031. Room: 173 Main Capitol
- Kim Ward* – (717) 787-6063; firstname.lastname@example.org
Senate Box 203039, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3039. Room: 168 Main Capitol
- Arthur Haywood – (717) 787-1427; email@example.com
Senate Box 203004. Harrisburg, PA 17120-3004. Room: 457 Main Capitol
- Rob Teplitz – (717) 787-6801; firstname.lastname@example.org
Senate Box 203015, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3015. Room: 15 East Wing
- John Wozniak – (717) 787-5400; email@example.com
Senate Box 203035, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3035. Room: 10 East Wing