Proposed amendment would limit state revenue and spending

KASB and a number of other state and national groups testified Wednesday against a state constitutional amendment that would limit state tax and spending levels and create a “rainy day” fund for economic downturns.

The chief proponent of SCR 1620 was Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Andover, who said his primary interest was creating a budget stabilization fund. However, the amendment would also limit state revenue and spending growth to inflation and population growth, unless approved by public vote. It would also require a legislative super-majority to raise tax rates or create new taxes.

A constitutional amendment requires a two-third majority of both the House and Senate and approval by a majority of voters in a general election.

KASB opposed the concept of limiting spending to inflation and population growth, estimating that if such limits had been applied to public school spending since 1975, K-12 funding would be less than half of current levels, and Kansas would rank last in the nation in per pupil funding, rather than 29th.

The additional spending above inflation has allowed school districts to add staff for expanded services such as special education, educate more students in early childhood and all-day kindergarten, and keep more students enrolled until graduation, KASB said. As a result, Kansas education levels are at an all-time high, and Kansas ranks among the highest achieving states in overall outcomes.

Also opposing the amendment was the Kansas National Education Association, the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, the Kansas Economic Progress Council, Kansas Organization for State Employees, Kansas Action for Children, the Colorado Fiscal Institute, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and other written opponents.

Supporting the proposed amendment with written testimony were Americans for Prosperity and the Kansas Policy Institute.

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