Senior Director of State Policy Initiatives
North Carolina lawmakers are considering a misguided constitutional amendment that would lock in low spending levels dating from the recession and force more cuts to education and other services over time.
Thirty states have considered this kind of amendment, known as a TABOR or taxpayer bill of rights — including North Carolina in 2013 — and all except Colorado have rejected it (see map below). And not only Democrats have opposed TABORs. For example, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, vetoed a TABOR proposal in 2011, explaining, “We should learn from the state of Colorado that experimented with a similar measure, and failed.” Members of the North Carolina House should heed those words and reject the latest TABOR proposal, which the state Senate approved this week.
The proposal would place on the November 2016 ballot a constitutional amendment limiting annual spending growth to the sum of the inflation rate and population growth. Overriding the limit would require a two-thirds vote of both houses of the legislature.
Here’s why this proposal is a bad idea: