CT’s Toothless Spending Cap Must Be Fixed

November 17, 2015

The citizens of Connecticut deserve a government that is reasonably and responsibly spending its funds.

An opinion issued today by Connecticut’s Attorney General states that Connecticut’s current constitutional spending cap, which passed with overwhelming voter support in 1992, “has no legal effect” in its current form because lawmakers never adopted definitions to solidify the law in statute.

  • The constitutional cap was proposed as part of the state’s income tax compromise in 1991.
  • It was meant to assure people that the state would not engage in runaway spending after increasing taxes by over $1 billion with the passage of the income tax.
  • Voters overwhelmingly approved the cap by a 4 to 1 margin in a 1992 ballot question.
  • Following voter ratification, the General Assembly was supposed to define by law the elements that contribute to the spending cap calculation, which involves factoring in a) “increases in personal income,” b)“increases in inflation” and c)“general budget expenditures.” The definitions for these three elements could not be enacted until they achieved support by a three-fifths vote of each house of the General Assembly.

Definitions for these elements were never adopted by the General Assembly, despite my repeated efforts to do so.

Without definitions, the constitutional amendment is futile, according to the Attorney General’s new opinion.

In the upcoming legislative session, Republicans and I will work tirelessly to enact an enforceable state spending cap.

We look forward to working with Democrats and Gov. Malloy to make this happen and to protect our state’s future.

How can you help?

Thank you for your advocacy on this key issue of state government spending.

It is, after all, your money.