DO TAX AND EXPENDITURE LIMITATIONS AFFECT THE SIZE AND GROWTH OF STATE GOVERNMENT?
RONALD J. SHADBEGIAN
This paper focuses on citizens' ability to restrict the size and growth of state government through the use of tax and expenditure limitations (TELs). Most TEL laws are not designed to stop public sector growth but are intended to cap it relative to personal income growth. Evidence indicates that the design of TEL laws increases the elasticity of government size (and growth) with respect to income. Thus, TEL laws, as they currently are written, allow states with high income growth to keep increasing the size of the public sector. Meanwhile, they prevent states with low income growth from doing likewise. While TELs restrict government size and growth in states with below average income, in general they have no significant effect on the size or growth of government. Therefore, as long as income growth is high, TELs end up as little more than political cover for state legislatures. Copyright 1996 Western Economic Association International.
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