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CT Legislature to Discuss 20 Bills on the State Spending Cap

April 3, 2017 By Staff
CT Legislature to Discuss 20 Bills on the State Spending Cap

In 1991, Connecticut voters approved a constitutional amendment limiting state spending. State government never followed through. There's a new movement to do so in 2017.

On Monday, the Appropriations Committee will hold a public hearing to consider dozens of proposed bills. At least 20 of those bills concern the establishment of a constitutional state spending cap.

Remember the state spending cap? Voters approved of it in 1991, as explained in a November 2016 op-ed from Webster Bank CEO James Smith:

In 1991, more than 80 percent of Connecticut voters favored a constitutional amendment imposing a cap on annual increases in state spending, which was the keystone in a grand bargain that ushered in Connecticut’s income tax. The cap’s concept is simple: State expenditures in any year cannot rise by a percentage greater than the percentage increase in either the state’s personal income or inflation, whichever is more.

Yet, 25 years later, the cap is unfinished, and the will of state voters remains frustrated.

The state continues to chip away at efforts. There is a Connecticut Spending Cap Commission that works on the issue, but – as the Yankee Institute noted late last year – they have been unable to agree on what spending should and should not be included in the cap.

CT News Junkie notes that legislatures and governors “have approved bypassing or exceeding the cap as it currently exists at least 8 times over the past 25 years.” Will 2017 be the year that finally changes?