State Senator Michael McLachlan Testifies in Support of Bill To Fully Implement Constitutional Spending Cap

March 20, 2009

Hartford, CT – State Senator Michael McLachlan (R-Danbury) today testified before the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee in support of SB172: An Act Redefining Terms Concerning the Spending Cap. Senator McLachlan proposed the bill at the beginning of the legislative session in an effort to protect the integrity of the state’s constitutional spending cap, which was approved by more than 80% of Connecticut voters in November of 1992.

“For too long the state’s constitutional spending cap has been used as a guide instead of a rule. As a result, state spending has more than doubled in just the last 15 years,” said Senator McLachlan. “Ever since the people of Connecticut voted for the spending cap, the legislature has been ducking its responsibility to fully implement it. This bill will give the spending cap some teeth by finally defining its terms in a way that will limit government spending and protect taxpayers.”

In 1991, the General Assembly passed the statutory spending cap along with the Personal Income Tax. A constitutional spending cap was later approved by more than 80% of the electorate in November of 1992. The spending cap was adopted to limit spending growth to a level deemed affordable to taxpayers. Under the rules of the cap, the state budget cannot grow faster than the five year average growth in personal incomes, or the rate of inflation, whichever is greater. However, in most years, the legislature has voted to exceed the cap in order to spend surpluses.

In testimony today, Senator McLachlan said, “Some suggest we effectively have a spending cap by state statute and this is true, however, changing a statute is a relatively simple matter for the legislature. Changes to our Constitution demand a far more inclusive process with the voters of Connecticut. I submit to you that the voters have spoken on this issue – over sixteen years ago. Let us move forward with their request of this legislature. Let us fully implement Connecticut’s Constitutional Spending Cap.”