Constitutional Tax & Spending Limit Amendments

MCN and the Minnesota Budget Project support preserving the ability of a simple majority of lawmakers to determine the overall size of the state budget and to manage available resources. Therefore, we oppose any amendment to Minnesota’s Constitution that would require a supermajority vote to raise taxes or use reserve funds, or would restrict lawmakers from using available resources. Amendments such as these would damage Minnesota’s economic future by sharply limiting policymakers’ flexibility to respond to changing demographics and emerging needs. Lawmakers would find it harder to reach agreement, leading to an increase in legislative gridlock and the use of more budget gimmicks.

Three constitutional budget amendments limiting the state's ability to raise taxes or use available revenues were introduced in the 2011 Legislative Session. The 2012 Legislature adjourned without acting on any of the proposals, thanks in large part to the work of concerned Minnesotans and leaders from local government, business, nonprofit, faith and labor organizations that actively opposed the amendments. They argued that the amendments would lead to a host of unintended consequences, such as more government shutdowns, gridlock and budget gimmicks; increased cost-shifting to local government and pressure on property taxes; more impediments to tax reform; and further risks to the state's credit rating.

Lawmakers were convinced. None of the bills were brought up for a vote in either house in the 2012 session by the time the Legislature adjourned on May 10.

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