Phillips-Hill, Grove: Voters should have say on budgetary gimmicks

YORK – Two local lawmakers have joined efforts to rein in excessive state government spending by the executive branch.

Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Representative Seth Grove (R-Dover) introduced Senate Bill 885 and House Bill 1861, respectively, which propose an amendment to the state’s Constitution to address any spending by the governor that exceeds the amount approved in the annual state budget.

Phillips-Hill and Grove’s constitutional amendment would require any supplemental funding to be voted in a standalone bill and not rolled into the upcoming budget.

“York Countians are sick and tired of budget games that play out in their state government year after year,” Phillips-Hill said. “Our proposed constitutional amendment will give voters the final say in whether or not these gimmicks will end.”

The legislators cited a $673 million overspend in the 2018-19 Fiscal Year state budget, approximately two percent higher than what the legislature and governor agreed to in the General Appropriations Act for that year.

“The scheme of increasing spending through supplemental funding, which is done by governors from both parties, is disingenuous to the people of Pennsylvania,” Grove said. “The taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent and this sort of spending needs to be scrutinized through the state budget process, just like all other state spending.”

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

“Both parties are guilty of this, so the problem is not exclusive to any one Governor or Administration. This is just one way we can shore up our state’s finances and make them more transparent. If any governor wants to overspend what was appropriated through the legislative process, there will need to be justification in a transparent matter,” Phillips-Hill added. “Our bill guarantees that voters will get to make the final determination if this reform to our constitution is approved.”

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

You can listen to Representative Grove’s comments here.

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