House Bill 2285, the Truth in Spending reform bill (FAQ sheet here), sponsored by Reps. Steve Smith (R-Pinal County) and David Stevens (R-Cochise County) would require a special vote if the Legislature wants to increase state spending at a rate that is faster than the rate of growth of state population plus inflation, and would increase budget transparency by requiring the Legislature to give the public advance notice before holding a public hearing on the budget.
Truth in Spending will serve as a “speed bump” for future Legislators–letting them know when spending growth outpaces the ability of the state economy to pay for that spending. As this chart shows, if Arizona had stuck to a spending limit based on population plus inflation (“TABOR”) since 2003, our deficit problems would not have reached the crisis proportions they reached during the past four years. Truth in Spending can help to keep Arizona from getting back on the spending rollercoaster that destroyed state finances during the Napolitano years.
Truth in Spending is NOT an onerous transparency requirement: every year, dozens of Arizona cities and towns provide their citizens with two weeks’ notice before budget and property tax hearings (thanks to the “Truth in Taxation” law). More information about Truth in Spending is available in our HB 2285 FAQ sheet.