Topeka It's being called TABOR lite.
Backers of changing the Kansas Constitution to enact spending and tax limits say they probably don't have the necessary two-thirds support to get the measure on the ballot. The measure has been dubbed the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR for short.
But TABOR proponents may make a run at a similar statutory change - TABOR lite - that would require a simple majority in the House and Senate.
A statutory change would require fewer votes in the Legislature and would give Kansans an opportunity to see how a spending and tax restriction would work, said Alan Cobb of Americans for Prosperity.
"It puts a marker out there," Cobb said. "People will be able to see it doesn't cause locust swarms and cats and dogs living together."
Under the proposed TABOR constitutional amendment, state government spending increases would be limited to increases in population and inflation, and all revenues collected above that amount would be refunded to taxpayers. In addition, any tax increase would have to be approved by voters.
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To get that proposal on the ballot, however, would require 84 votes in the 125-member House and 27 in the 40-member Senate. The votes aren't there for the proposal.
No specific TABOR-lite bill has been drawn up, but generally it would include a spending cap similar to TABOR and perhaps a requirement that a super-majority of the Legislature would be required before taxes could be raised.
But opponents of TABOR are just as committed to opposing any kind of TABOR lite.
"It would be a dangerous approach to governing," said George Lippencott, a Lawrence volunteer for AARP, which is part of a coalition opposed to TABOR.
He said it would allow a minority of lawmakers to block needed tax reforms and push tax increases down to the local level, where governing bodies don't need super-majorities to enact changes.
Opponents of TABOR and TABOR lite also say the budget problems in neighboring Colorado should serve as a warning to Kansans against automatic fiscal restraints.
Earlier this month, Colorado voters, faced with potential budget cuts, decided to suspend TABOR for five years, essentially giving up $3.7 billion in tax refunds that will be spent on state government.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has spoken against a TABOR constitutional amendment in Kansas, and her office Friday said she probably would not look favorably on legislation similar to TABOR.
"She has been pretty clear in her concern in passing something like that," spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran said.