House Approves Budgetary Spending Control Measures
Last week, the state House approved a package of bills designed to put limits on the executive branch’s management of budgetary issues. House Bills 1940-1945 require transparency through an estimate of how much money the state will have in the forthcoming budget year, along with more information about balances in special funds that are used to provide grants and subsidies, and the creation of monetary reserves during revenue shortfalls. In addition, the House also approved H.B. 110, a constitutional amendment to cap state spending based on increases in the Consumer Price Index and state population growth. A constitutional amendment needs to be approved by both the House and Senate in two consecutive legislative sessions before being put before the voters in a ballot referendum.
“Over the past three years, the budget and its funding have been a major concern for the Commonwealth and main topic of debate in the General Assembly,” House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, said in a press release announcing the House passage of the budget reform bills. “The governor has been using loopholes in the constitutional provision for a balanced budget and we’re closing them.”
This package of reforms accompanies Act 48 of 2017, which was signed earlier this year and requires the state’s Independent Fiscal Office and an independent review board to enhance and improve budget development and decision-making associated with the annual budget process. The reviews will look at state agencies and determine performance-based solutions to make operations and programs more transparent, effective and efficient.
As seen in The Sentinel, a weekly publication of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.
Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state’s largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of Business™.