March 15, 2017

TABOR would cement “March to Zero”-like concept into Kansas Constitution

New KCEG brief outlines dangerous consequences of proposed constitutional amendment

TOPEKA – Today, as the Kansas Senate Taxation and Assessment Committees considered a so-called “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” (TABOR), the Kansas Center for Economic Growth (KCEG) released a policy brief outlining the fiscally devastating consequences of inflexible, formula-based caps on state revenue and expenditures.

TABOR resolutions (SCR 1602 and HCR 5007) would cap state revenue and spending growth at the rate of population growth and inflation beginning July 1, 2019. If it receives a constitutional majority in the Kansas Legislature, it will go before Kansas voters as a constitutional amendment in the 2018 general election.

“Much like Gov. Brownback’s ‘March to Zero’, which automatically phases out state income tax over time, TABOR creates a rigid cap that will permanently block lawmakers from making new investments in our kids and communities – regardless of public need,” said KCEG Executive Director Heidi Holliday. “Kansans already feel the state is failing to invest enough in basic services, like schools and roads. TABOR would make our problems even worse.”

According to KCEG analysis, TABOR would have cost Kansas over $9 billion in revenue over the last two decades. Additionally, states with tight revenue caps have lower credit ratings. Kansas’ state credit rating has been downgraded three times in the last two years and was recently given a “negative outlook” from Standard and Poor’s. Another downgrade would lead to increased borrowing costs, more cuts, and lagging economic growth. Other states, such as Colorado, implemented similar TABOR-like measures and have been forced to roll back many provisions.

“Kansas lawmakers should focus on moving Kansas out of its current fiscal crisis,” said Holliday. “This proposal only creates a new one. It would begin another dangerous experiment – one that has already been proven a failure for Colorado – and hurt Kansas even more.”

Read the policy brief here.

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ClayRELEASE: TABOR would cement “March to Zero”-like concept into Kansas Constitution