Local Legislators Plan to Offer Constitutional Amendment to Allow Voters to Weigh in on Budget Gimmicks
YORK – Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Representative Seth Grove (R-Dover) announced their intentions to offer a constitutional amendment to address out-of-control state spending by the executive branch.

Their constitutional amendment would clear up budget gimmicks they said taxpayers are tired of and ensure a more transparent process in government overspending.

Phillips-Hill and Grove are seeking support from their colleagues for a proposal to require any additional supplemental spending by the Governor and his or her administration to be voted on in a standalone bill, and not added on to the state budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.

In Fiscal Year 2018-19, Governor Wolf overspent $673 million more than the allotted amount in the approved state budget. The local lawmakers believe this will help ensure the supplemental spending problem, which is not exclusive to Governor Wolf, is more transparent and keeps all sides – the legislature and governor – accountable.

“We have major reservations about the process by which this administration and prior administrations have tacked on additional bills to be paid by taxpayers, but not authorized by the General Assembly until the following year,” Phillips-Hill said. “Lawmakers and the governor come together each year to figure out how we pay for state government operations for the ensuing year. Any overspend from that agreed-to amount should be addressed separately, which is what this proposal will do. We believe this approach will give the voters the ultimate choice in significant budgetary reforms.”

“The people deserve to know exactly how much money is being spent each year. The current system of planning to spend next year’s money to cover this year’s non-legislatively approved expenses is disingenuous to residents,” Grove said. “In order for people to trust their lawmakers, government must first take steps to gain that trust. We believe requiring the executive branch to explain and request legislative approval for any and all spending over-and-above the approved budget is transparency Pennsylvanians rightly deserve.”

In order for the constitutional amendment to be approved, the legislation must be approved by the General Assembly in two consecutive sessions, and then be approved by voters in the ensuing election.

You can listen to Senator Phillips-Hill’s comments here.

You can listen to Representative Grove’s comments here.

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Jon Hopcraft (Phillips-Hill)

Greg Gross (Grove)