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TAXPAYER BILL OF RIGHTS GOOD LEGISLATION

 TAXPAYER BILL OF RIGHTS GOOD LEGISLATION
 /ADVANCE/ HARRISBURG, Pa., May 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The state and local


governments in Pennsylvania, including school districts, would face restrictions on raising taxes if the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights becomes law, a veteran legislator said today.
 Rep. Richard J. Cessar, Republican chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said the legislation would "go a long way toward restricting tax increases and limiting state spending."
 The Allegheny County legislator said the bill was introduced in the House "in response to the public outcry in the wake of last summer's record-shattering $3.5 billion tax increase."
 Cessar, in a statewide radio broadcast today, said the measure is designed to give taxpayers a chance to say "no" to skyrocketing taxes and spending binges.
 "Taxpayers continue to tell us -- in very loud and very clear voices -- they're fed up with overtaxing, not only at the state and federal level but at the local government level as well," Cessar said. "And, as we begin to debate a new state spending plan for 1992-93, Pennsylvanians are reminding us they don't want a repeat of last year's fiscal mess."
 The Taxpayer Bill of Rights proposes an amendment to the state Constitution requiring a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly (rather than just a majority) to raise taxes or expand the tax base. That action would be required when state spending exceeds the previous year's spending by more than 80 percent of the rate of change in personal income during the previous two years.
 "Tying state government spending increases to the growth rate of personal income will ensure that state government will not be able to spend more than its working families can afford," Cessar said.
 Local government spending would also be limited by the proposed amendment.
 "One of the complaints most often heard by legislators from local government officials is that state government forces mandates on municipalities without providing the funding to implement them," Cessar explained. "This legislation prohibits the imposition of mandates on local governments unless the costs are fully funded by the commonwealth. Additionally, the spending limit for a local government may not exceed the rate of change for the two preceding years of personal income unless the voters approve it."
 Cessar said the proposal would require local governments, including school districts, to seek voter approval if they want to increase tax rates. That would happen in cases where the resulting revenue yield over the previous year's yield exceeds the rate of inflation.
 "Another good feature of the bill is that it prohibits state government from raiding other commonwealth funds to pay for overspending in the General Fund," Cessar said.
 "One of the reasons Pennsylvania faces a continuing fiscal crisis is the questionable practice -- employed by this administration in the past several years -- of transferring monies from the state workers' insurance fund, the unemployment compensation interest fund, the hazardous waste fund and others. Such accounting gimmickry could no longer be used to paper over excessive spending if the Taxpayer Bill of Rights becomes law."
 /delval/
 -0- 5/9/92/1100
 /CONTACT: Rep. Richard J. Cessar, 717-783-1490/ CO: Pennsylvania House of Representatives ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


MK -- PH020 -- 8168 05/08/92 15:00 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 8, 1992
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