Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposed state spending cap took its first step forward on Monday. Following a rally with U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN-6) in the state capital rotunda, the Minnesota Senate Taxes Committee held its first hearing on a constitutional “Spending Accountability Amendment.” The measure would simply restrain general fund spending to the amount of revenue received during the previous biennium. In other words, the state can’t spend what it can’t already raise.

Spending in Minnesota has grown widely out of control. In, 1999 spending and gross state product chained to 1989 levels had grown 65% and 63% respectively – nearly equal. In 2008, just a decade later, chained state spending was at 117%, while GSP was at only 84%. Runaway spending beyond what the economy can sustain has resulted in another $1.2 billion deficit that could skyrocket to as much as $5.4 billion in the coming years.

And if there was ever a sign that a spending cap is necessary in Minnesota: three of the four groups testifying in opposition to the spending limit were the Association of Minnesota Counties, League of Minnesota Cities, and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Notice the common thread? They all represent those who feed off taxpayer dollars and always want more.
Americans for Tax Reform had the opportunity to testify in strong support of the measure. For a copy of ATR’s testimony, click here.