State Spending Cap Bill To Get A Second Try This Week

Feb 25, 2013

The sponsor of a bill that would create a controversial state-spending cap says he will try it again in House committee Tuesday.

Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Hot Springs) said he'll try his bill to establish a state spending cap again this week.
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman, a Republican from Hot Springs, says he’s been researching successful spending caps in other states.

“There are over 30 states that have some kind of a spending cap in place. I’m still looking at data and haven’t made up my mind for sure if I will file another amendment on it,” he said.

HB 1041 would not let the state grow its budget more than 3 percent each year.

It passed committee last week, but failed to gain an amendment in the House.

Westerman says the cap is just a spending control and a necessary component to overall tax reform, but will not cause budget cuts.

“Our plan does not propose any cuts to state programs, we’re simply looking at slowing the growth in state spending. Claims that reducing the amount of growth is a cut are irresponsible and not factual,” he said.

Critics of the bill, including Governor Mike Beebe and the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, have said the bill could require hard and unforgiving cuts to some state programs in order to offset growth in funding for mandatory programs that might exceed the spending cap in a given year.