Flawed by Design: A Review of the Proposed Tax and Expenditure Limitation Amendment

July 25, 2005

This July 2005 report reviews the proposed tax and expenditure limitation (sometimes known as TEL or TABOR) being promoted by Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Citizens for Tax Reform. Research Analyst Jon Honeck’s report finds that the amendment has ambiguous provisions and will result in substantial litigation. Also, the amendment’s tax refund mechanism only takes into account income tax payments and not payments for sales taxes and other state taxes. This will direct a disproportionate share of tax refunds to higher-income taxpayers.

Because the proposal contains a supremacy clause, it will prevail over other sections of the constitution. “Ohio voters will not know exactly what they are getting if they approve this amendment,” said Policy Matters Research Analyst and report author Jon Honeck, “but they can be assured that the amendment will override any other section of the constitution in case of conflict.”

The report finds that the amendment is likely to generate a flood of lawsuits, because of its poorly designed provisions.

Press Release

Executive Summary

Full Report

Read our November 2005 brief:
A Lesson for Ohio: Colorado Voters Decide to Suspend Spending Limits

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