Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Restrain State Spending Voters Should Decide Whether to Cap Future Increases

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Restrain State Spending Voters Should Decide Whether to Cap Future Increases

Article excerpt

As a small business owner and as a mother, I've seen firsthand the impact of wasteful government spending, first in the taxes I pay and then in the lost jobs and lost opportunities I see.

The voters I have spoken to in southwestern Pennsylvania echo these sentiments, sharing with me their frustration with burdensome taxes and increasing debt. The consensus: It's time we turned things around.

That is why my first piece of legislation, Senate Bill 70, seeks to control future growth in government spending. Too often, we haven't required government to live within its means, instead relying on higher taxes or more debt to sustain a cycle of overspending. All the while, seniors and working families struggle to bear these costs, and job creators are not able to grow local economies.

Pennsylvania is in the minority of states in having no spending controls in place. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states operate under a tax or expenditure limitation.

My legislation would limit spending growth to inflation and population growth. The legislation would enact sensible spending controls and prevent unchecked growth in government.

That relief is much needed for our working families. Pennsylvanians pay more than $4,300 per person in state and local taxes each year, according to the Tax Foundation. No wonder people are upset when they see more and more tax dollars being spent in Harrisburg.

Specifically, my proposal would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to prevent lawmakers from breaching or repealing spending limits with a simple majority vote in the future. In order to amend our constitution, the legislation would have to be approved by the Senate and House of Representatives in two consecutive legislative sessions and pass a referendum of state voters. This would give the people the final say in preventing state spending growth that outstrips the growth in our economy. …

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