Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stop Overspending

The final initiative to qualify for the November ballot is entitled Stop Over Spending (SOS). From the Detroit News:

The proposal that apparently made it under the wire Monday would set the tightest budget limits ever faced by state and local governments.

Its backers say they turned in 503,532 petition signatures 1 1/2 hours before the deadline.

Detroit attorney Kurt O'Keefe, treasurer of the movement, said Stop Over Spending (SOS) proposal is "democracy in action."

It would restrict increases in state revenue, and spending, to a factor combining the inflation rate and proportional population increases. It also would end pensions for state lawmakers and require elections for virtually any new or increased fee by a city, county or township.

"It's no surprise that the SOS has generated so much enthusiasm and I expect that to grow," O'Keefe said.
This is a great idea. Essentially, this proposal would say that government spending could not get any larger without being approved by the voters. The spending limit would be adjusted for population growth and inflation. If politicians want to create a new program, they will have to cut spending somewhere else, or else risk losing a popular referendum.

This initiative is essentially a Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR), as exists in the state of Colorado. There are some small differences.

This initiative is the single most effective way for conservatives to limit the size and power of government. Over time, it makes a significant difference in government spending. Here is a libertarian analysis of TABOR.

Check out the SOS website. It contains this endorsement from Kalamazoo County's own taxpayer hero Ray Wilson:

"The Stop Overspending amendment to the state constitution will force the politicians to make priorities in their spending decisions--just as we citizens have had to do during these tough economic times. The facts clearly show that Michigan's state and local governments tax and spend at a higher level than most other states. That's why our economy is in the doldrums and why businesses are fleeing Michigan for better economic climates. The Stop Overspending amendment will re-invigorate Michigan's economy, and lead to the creation of more jobs and more prosperity for Michigan residents."
--Ray Wilson, the Kalamazoo County Taxpayers Association

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