Both sides gear up once again for spending limit fight

St. Louis, MO – The Missouri House passed a proposed constitutional amendment Thursday that would limit yearly growth in state spending to the annual rise in inflation plus population growth.

Wildwood Republican Allen Icet, the chair of the House Budget Committee, says the legislation would prevent runaway spending.

"I think it makes good budgeting sense," he said. "Businesses operate this way, and especially when there are people on the other side of the aisle who say let's spend one-time money on on-going programs. It completely cuts that potential out."

Opponents like Amy Blouin of the Missouri Budget Project say the amendment is a bad idea, especially in troubled economic times. They say it's Missouri's version of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, which Colorado voters approved in the 1990s. Colorado has since sunset many of TABOR's provisions.

Blouin says she's happy that votes in favor of the restrictions have dropped each year.

"It seems like more legislators are understanding that passing TABOR would effectively tie Missouri to the budget crisis indefinitely," she said. "And as a constitutional amendment, what that means is that we would really be stuck long-term."

Thursday's House vote was 82-78. With Senate approval, the measure could go on the ballot next year. ballot next year.