|JEFFERSON CITY - A group whose mission is to be a voice for fiscal responsibility and maintaining low taxes has spoken out. Americans for Prosperity-Missouri is urging Governor Nixon and the state legislature to return any expected budget surplus to the taxpayers rather than spending it on 2nd-tier spending items.
"The expected budget surplus came from hardworking taxpayers and should go back to them or a rainy day fund and not start another spending spree," explained Patrick Werner, Missouri state director of Americans for Prosperity. "The state legislature should use this new revenue increase to "give back" to the taxpayers who earned that money or put it into a fund for years when revenue is lower."
AFP drew attention to the expected surplus as an example for why the state should pass a spending cap to protect taxpayers from overspending. Last year AFP led the charge for spending cap legislation. That legislation was passed overwhelmingly in the state house but did not recieve sufficient support in the state senate to appear on the ballot this past November.
"Missouri needs a spending cap bill to protect taxpayers from spendthrift politicians. We urge both houses of the Missouri legislature to pass a spending cap bill this year," Werner continued.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individualís right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans.
Limits of Hancock Amendment
On November 4, 1980, the voters of Missouri passed Constitutional Amendment No. 5, which added Article X, Sections 16 through 24 to the Constitution of Missouri. The amendment, commonly referred to as the Hancock Amendment, requires that no greater portion of Missouriansí personal income be used in any future year to fund state government than was the case in fiscal year 1981, except as authorized by a vote of the people.
The amendment came as a result of the efforts of Melton, "Mel" Hancock, a former representative from the 7th district, who in 1977 had founded The Taxpayer Survival Association, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on the principle of constitutional tax limitation.
The State Auditorís Office performs a review of the stateís compliance with the provisions of the Hancock Amendment to verify the accuracy of the revenue limit computation performed by the Office of Administration, Division of Budget and Planning (OB-BP). The state refunded the total of $178,843,080 to taxpayers in late 1999 for prior years.
In recent years, however, judicial rulings have redefined what monies are subject to the Amendment. For instance, sales tax money is not affected.