Group: Utilize cap on state spending

Missouri voters should get the opportunity to change the state Constitution and prevent future legislatures from facing spending crises, the group “Americans for Prosperity-Missouri” said last week.

At a news conference, AFP-Mo State Director Patrick Warner told about a dozen supporters: “We’re at a time in history where the economy is not going so well but, if we put this spending cap in place today, when revenues return back to the positive side and we start to see positive revenue growth, future general assemblies ... just can’t get out-of-control with future budgets and put us, maybe, in a situation (again like) we’ve seen in the last couple of years.”

The proposed amendment would limit future government growth to a formula that includes the annual inflation rate, the growth in Missouri’s total population and 1.5 percent of the previous state business year’s total general revenue collections.

That is similar to the 1992 formula Colorado voters approved in what was called the “Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights,” or TABOR — a restriction that the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said nearly two years ago “has contributed to a significant decline in (Colorado)’s public services,” especially education.

Werner said Colorado’s problem came from a “ratchet-down” feature the Missouri proposal doesn’t have, and that, “if you look at Colorado today, they’re living with a spending restriction bill that they’re doing fine with.”

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