POTTSVILLE – Senator David G. Argall (R-29) and Representative Mike Tobash (R-125) announced today their joint effort to reduce the size of the state legislature and cut government costs.
“Now is the time to lead by example. With the upcoming budget debate, I believe it’s wrong to demand cuts in various state departments without a similar willingness to reduce our own costs,” said Argall. “This legislation is a realistic approach in reducing the size of the state legislature. We expect the savings to taxpayers to be $10 million every year once fully implemented.”
Senator Argall continued, “The idea of downsizing the legislature is not a new concept. It was extensively debated during the state’s 1968 Constitutional Convention. Despite several major obstacles in getting this legislation passed, I am not giving up. If we are going to get serious about spending cuts, we need to get serious about this change.”
Legislation of this type requires a comprehensive amendment to the State Constitution to reduce the size of the General Assembly, and change the term for members of the House of Representatives from two to four years. The Constitution requires that the proposal would have to pass in two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly and be approved by Pennsylvania voters through a referendum.
Under Argall’s proposal, reductions in the House will begin following the 2020 Census when the House of Representatives will be reduced to 183 members. Following the 2030, 2040 and 2050 censuses, the House will again be reduced by ten members, ending with 153 members in 2053.
Reductions in the Senate will also begin following the 2020 Census when the Senate will be reduced to 47 members; in 2030, the Senate will be reduced by two members, ending with 45 members.
“If the members of the House and Senate are willing to pass a constitutional amendment to do this more quickly, I would be pleased to support that effort. This much-needed change has been advocated for decades, but it has always failed in the past. That is why I am suggesting that it be gradually implemented over time,” added Argall.
“After meeting with many constituents, I have been up front that this is not the answer to all of our problems,” Representative Tobash said. “If the legislature is going to begin cutting many department budgets, we cannot act any differently. In tough times, there are no sacred cows.”
“I made a pledge to the taxpayers that we need to control costs. As a business owner, it is vital to lead by example and set the precedent for budget cuts across the board,” concluded Tobash.
Contact: Jon Hopcraft