TABOR in Kansas

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Kansas is one of more than a dozen states in which anti-tax organizations are pushing to enact stringent limits on the allowable growth of state/local taxes and spending from year to year. In Kansas, the man in the black hat is a group called "Americans for Prosperity," (and who doesn't want prosperity?). AFP wants to pass a constitutional amendment limiting growth in revenues to the growth of population and inflation.

The editorial board of the Topeka Capital-Journal gets it just right in their October 7 editorial on this topic:

The first problem with the concept is what year will be used as the standard where the taxation level was just right?

In other words, when you allow revenues only to grow with population and inflation, you're pretty much asserting that the current levels of spending are just right and are not likely to ever change.

"2005" is pretty clearly not the answer to the Capital-Journal's question, since state courts have repeatedly told lawmakers in recent years that the state is not meeting its constitutional requirement to provide an adequate education for Kansas kids. And one of the big topics in the 2006 legislative session will be how the state's gonna find new money to satisfy the court's mandate.

It's hard to imagine that there will ever be a time and place when a government knows that it is adequately funding current needs and will never face new spending needs that would force overall public spending higher-- but if such a place exists, it sure isn't Kansas. Hats off to the Capital-Journal for recognizing this basic truth.

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