[r90] Two Conservative Legislators to Co-Author Constitutional Limits on Growth in Government Spending (7/30/2007)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Start Date: 7/30/2007 All Day
End Date: 7/30/2007
(INDIANAPOLIS) July 30 - Government spending at all levels will be limited by the Indiana Constitution for the first time in Indiana's history, if an amendment co-authored by Representative Mike Murphy (R - Indianapolis) and Senator Brent Steele (R - Bedford) is passed by the legislature, and ultimately approved by the voters.

"For too long government officials at both the local and state levels have allowed government spending growth to exceed the growth in the taxpayers' income", said Rep. Murphy.  "The result has been that government has completely lost touch with the people they are supposed to serve."

The draft Murphy/Steele amendment which amends Article 10 of the Constitution reads:  GROWTH IN SPENDING FROM ONE YEAR TO THE NEXT FOR ANY UNIT OF GOVERNMENT MAY NOT EXCEED THE MOST RECENT DOCUMENTED GROWTH IN AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD INCOME FOR THE COUNTY OR COUNTIES WHICH THAT UNIT SERVES. AN ANNUAL EXCEPTION FOR ANY UNIT MAY BE GRANTED ONLY BY EXECUTIVE ORDER OF THE GOVERNOR.

Ronald Reagan once said, 'the problem is not that government taxes too little, it is that government spends too much,'" said Senator Steele. "We have statutory spending limits, but there are too many loopholes, and the limits have not worked."

Senator Steele referred to state law that limits growth in government spending, but exempts debt service, and allows for excess appeals, which are routinely approved.  Another statutory limit on taxation, set to go into effect next year, exempts schools, which account for approximately 53% of a typical property tax bill.

Both legislators agreed that a constitutional amendment is the only way to significantly and permanently impact the growing gap between government spending and the taxpayers' ability to afford their government.

"We expect to be roundly criticized by special interests that profit from government, and from those who do not yet understand that government belongs to the people," said Rep. Murphy. "We look forward to working with all Hoosiers of good will to fundamentally change the attitude about government spending in this state."

Representative Murphy and Senator Steele are actively seeking bi-partisan co-authors for their amendment.

Rep. Murphy encourages local constituents to contact him with questions or concerns through e-mail at h90@in.gov, 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.