Implementing an Effective Spending Cap

Back • Publication Date: October 6th, 2017

Authors: Ellen Shemitz, J.D. and Ray Noonan

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While spending caps can be vital for preventing runaway spending in times of plenty, they can have a negative impact in times of slow growth if used to limit strategic investments necessary for long-term prosperity. Unfortunately, proposed changes to the definition of expenditures limited by the spending cap would have that effect, limiting the ability of the state to meet vital needs today or invest in success for tomorrow. 

As legislators continue to negotiate a budget, we urge them to put aside the question of the spending cap, waiting until the General Assembly has the votes to adopt a constitutional definition.  Should the legislature feel compelled to amend the current statutory language, we would urge it to take the best from both proposals, guided by a commitment to meeting vital needs, investing in our cities and towns, and spurring equitable economic growth.