Pennsylvania’s state legislature finds itself in a unique situation as we prepare for the annual budget. Led by House Republicans’ fiscally responsible approach and the hard-working taxpayers across Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund and General Fund surplus have grown into a record sum, totaling more than $12 billion. 

By the end of the 2023-24 fiscal year, the balance of the Rainy Day fund is projected to be at least $6.4 billion, well over ten percent of annual tax revenues. In moments of surplus, it is often tempting for government officials to come up with new ways to spend and new programs to be established in order to project a sense of accomplishment to voters and constituents. 

However, the flaw in this argument and line of thinking is what often plagues expensive governments – the recurring cost of maintenance for new programs and in efficiency of government in providing goods and services to the public. Rather than allowing officials to exploit these funds as is so often done, leading to unsustainable future expenditures, I have introduced legislation to directly refund more of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. 

My legislation, House Bill 2282 would establish the 2024 Taxpayer Dividend Program, which provides a one-time dividend to taxpayers who filed their 2023 Personal Income Tax returns in a timely manner. The dividend would come from a portion of the surplus and could return up to $1,000 per taxpayer. This initiative can be achieved while protecting the statutory goal of keeping six percent of the General Fund revenues in the Rainy Day Fund to keep fiscal responsibility at the forefront, while supporting taxpayers instead of more inefficient government overhead. 

This rebate would go a long way in helping our families combat rising costs on essentials, groceries and gas. Our families know best how to spend their money, and their investment will drive economic growth. This is a significant but responsible action we can take to help our taxpayers and is a win-win for Pennsylvanians. I look forward to working to keep our state budget fiscally responsible and delivering this win for the taxpayers of our Commonwealth.

Rep. Rob Mercuri represents the 28th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

5 thoughts on “Rep. Rob Mercuri: Returning surplus funds to taxpayers promotes growth and fiscal responsibility ”

  1. There are a few things the author has left out.

    What income level does someone have to be at to be disqualified from this payout?

    Who gets the $1000 vs the lower payouts? Are the wealthiest of individuals going to get the highest pay out instead of the people who need this the most?

    Frankly this whole thing sounds like Republicans are trying to buy votes by passing this piece of legislation. The point of a rainy day fund is the event that we need it, not to pay out bonuses.

    1. There is no income level to qualify or be disqualified. If you filed a 2023 PA tax form on time, you qualify.
      That’s a good thing.
      All taxpayers get the same amount, that’s a good thing.
      But the amount is approximately $470.
      It is not possible that the refund will be $1,000. That is a bogus number but sure sounds good.
      See the calculation in my comment below.
      AND, even if HB2282 gets enacted, the refund in not guaranteed: The amount to be distributed must be in a separate bill that must pass both the House and Senate with a vote of two-thirds of the members.
      And I agree, “this whole thing sounds like Republicans are trying to buy votes by passing this piece of legislation.”
      Rep. Mercuri (House District 28) is running for Congress District 17.
      HB2282 – https://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&sessYr=2023&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billTyp=B&billNbr=2282&pn=3089

      1. Please tell me why people above a certain income level, lets say anyone earning $100,000 or more, to help them “combat rising costs on essentials, groceries and gas”. The last time this was done at the national level everyone had to pay taxes on that money.

  2. I’d gladly take this payout and use it to fill my heating oil tank and gas tank, as the price of both of these necessities has skyrocketed thanks to poor biden administration policy.

  3. I read HB2282 & “could return up to $1,000 per taxpayer” is not remotely possible and is misleading.
    The math is straightforward and not complicated in this 6-page bill.
    https://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&sessYr=2023&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billTyp=B&billNbr=2282&pn=3089

    Latest stats from PA Dept of Revenue (2020) is that there are 8.1M PA filers (3.8M single filers, 4.3M taxpayers filing jointly)
    https://www.revenue.pa.gov/News%20and%20Statistics/ReportsStats/PIT/Pages/default.aspx, Table 2

    From https://www.budget.pa.gov/Publications%20and%20Reports/CommonwealthBudget/Documents/2024-25%20Budget%20Documents/Budget%20Book%202024-25%20-%20Web%20Version.3.pdf
    Rainy Day Fund projected to be $6,401,629,000 (page H-15)
    6% of projected revenues ($45,267,100,000, page C1-13) = $2,716,000,000
    $6,401,629,000 – $2,716,000,000 = $3,685,600,000 available for refund per HB2282
    $3,685,600,000 / 8,100,000 = $455 per taxpayer
    To qualify, one must have filed on-time. I could not find the stat on late filers.
    But…
    To get $1000, 45% would need to be late filers which is impossible.

    And the last hurdle is that the appropriation of $3.686B for the refund must but be a separate appropriations bills and must pass by a vote of two-thirds of the members elected to the Senate and the House. So even if HB2282 is enacted, the refund is not guaranteed.

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