(STATEHOUSE) Dec. 26, 2007 - State Rep. Mike Murphy (R-Indianapolis) has joined with a bipartisan group of legislators to introduce a constitutional amendment that will limit government spending at all government levels. Rep. Murphy filed House Joint Resolution 4 (HJR 4) along with co-authors Rep. Scott Reske (D-Pendleton), Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Lakeville) and Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon).
The proposed constitutional amendment will require that no unit of government may increase spending by more than the increase in average personal income. The governor may exempt a particular unit of government from this cap for one year in extreme circumstances.
"Government should not be able to grow faster than the average person's ability to pay," said Rep. Murphy. "For example, if personal income increases by 2 percent, government spending should not increase by more than 2 percent. It's time our state constitution reflect that state government is the peoples' government."
Rep. Murphy began efforts to create this constitutional amendment shortly after the conclusion of the 2007 legislative session, when the General Assembly failed to provide permanent property tax relief for Hoosier homeowners.
Rep. Murphy's constitutional amendment to limit government spending differs from others that are currently on the table, which only call for limits on local government spending. This proposed amendment would cap all units of government spending - including the state.
"Governor Daniels has admirably limited state spending increases to historic lows. Unfortunately, Gov. Daniels can only lead us for another 5 years, and he may be succeeded by a spendthrift who squanders taxpayer dollars indiscriminately," Rep. Murphy said. "Placing a constitutional limit on all units, including state government, will ensure that future leaders cannot spend Indiana into another crisis."
The process to amend the Indiana Constitution is long, requiring passage in two separately-elected General Assemblies and then a voter referendum. If Rep. Murphy's bill is successful, the amendment could be in place in as little as three years.
"I look forward to beginning discussions on this important constitutional amendment, and I thank Reps. Reske, Walorski and Steuerwald for their leadership and commitment to hold government spending to levels all Hoosiers can afford," added Rep. Murphy.
Rep. Murphy encourages local constituents to contact him with questions or concerns through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the Statehouse toll-free at 1-800-382-9841. It is also possible to write him at 200 W. Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204.