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Tax Shelf-Life

Tax Shelf-Life
Simplification and Reduction Bill

AN ACT to install an expiration date on all taxes imposed by the state, to define limits on government powers of revenue generation, and for related purposes.
Authors:  Independent Tax Reform Committee (Dan Gray, John Zangaro, Aaron Bolinger, Bob McNeil)
Date:  19 March - 2017
MODEL LEGISLATION, tailored with Pennsylvania “Commonwealth” conventions used, but potentially applicable in any state when modified for specific circumstances.

Section I.  All legislation for the raising of revenue via taxation shall expire at the end of two calendar years following the passage thereof by the Legislature of this Commonwealth.   At the end of two years from the date of final adoption of this Act any Tax previously imposed by the Legislature of this Commonwealth shall become null and void.  Any new Tax, passed after the adoption of this Act, shall likewise expire at the end of two years from the date of implementation.

Section 2. Any Tax that the Pennsylvania Legislature may wish to retain as valid and active, or that the Governor of the Commonwealth wishes to propose to the Legislature for enactment or retention, shall be approved by the Pennsylvania State Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, and passed in the same manner as all other new tax legislation, and either signed into law by the Governor of Pennsylvania, or, upon the Governor's veto, properly overridden by the Legislature as prescribed by the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the applicable rules of each chamber of the Legislature.

Section 3. No extension of the strict two-year shelf-life of any State Tax Law may be granted, for any reason whatsoever, except by a positive reaffirmation of the legislation by the Legislature.  

Section 4.  No tax, fee or other burden upon the People shall be imposed for any purpose that is not clearly delineated within the Commonwealth Constitution as an authorized expenditure of our Commonwealth; nor shall any tax be imposed unless both necessary for the function of good government, and a proper exercise of the state power identified therein.  All bills for raising revenue shall contain a statement within the preamble identifying the constitutional authority of the power being exercised or implemented by the revenue collected, and also state clearly both the necessity and properness of the proposed revenue for the same.

Section 5. Any bill for raising revenue on articles of consumption shall clearly delineate the item to be taxed, and the amount of such tax per unit of measure or other quantity.  Articles of consumption that are necessary for the support of life, including unprocessed foods, clothing, medicinal or nutritional products, and other such items as the Legislature shall see fit, shall be exempt from taxation of any form, including a general ‘sales tax’, within this Commonwealth.  In that a person’s labor is his ability to earn a living and for survival, the exchange of labor for money shall likewise be exempt from any form of taxation within this Commonwealth.  In that the conduct of agricultural pursuits, such as husbandry of animals that produce meat, wool, fiber, milk, eggs or related wholesome foods, and the gardening of crops of any spice, grain, herbs or like food products, are hereby considered as necessary for the support of life, and shall be exempt from taxation of any form, including a general ‘sales tax,’ within this Commonwealth.

Section 6.  This law shall take effect as follows: Any law of this Legislature, regardless of when passed and implemented, that hath imposed a tax, fee, or burden on the People of this Commonwealth, regardless of its purpose, shall expire and be subject to the other terms and conditions herein, as of two years and 30 days from the passage hereof.

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