In November, Missouri voters will decide on Amendment 10, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would essentially shift the authority over and responsibility for maintaining a balanced budget from the Governor to the General Assembly. Unfortunately, the measure would create systemic problems that would make it harder for Missouri to maintain balance between state revenues and state spending.
Amendment 10 would dilute who is responsible for maintaining a balanced budget, is likely to politicize the decisions around Missouri’s balanced budget requirements, increase the possibility of overspending, and create a logistical nightmare that could foster instability in payments to schools, contract service providers and others.
Supporters of the Amendment claim the current Governor has inappropriately used budget restrictions to obtain political leverage on other issues, resulting in the need for Amendment 10. However, if this or any other governor were to be outside the office’s constitutional bounds, that concern could be addressed by the courts rather than through a constitutional amendment. In reality, Amendment 10 is actually likely to lead to more politicizing of the process to balance the budget.
Since Governor Bond in 1981, every elected Governor from both parties has used budget restrictions to keep Missouri’s spending in balance. At best, Amendment 10 is a solution in search of a problem. At worst, it is a poorly thought out constitutional amendment that could lead to years of significant budget imbalance and political stalemate.
To read the Missouri Budget Project’s full analysis of Amendment 10, click here .