Spending Limits

What’s New

Defend Michigan’s Efforts Keep Ill-advised Proposal to Limit State Spending off Ballot for Now Everyone who cares about Michigan breathed a temporary sigh of relief when the State Board of Canvassers unanimously agreed that the Stop OverSpending proposal failed to get enough valid signatures to qualify for the Nov. 7, 2006 ballot.

The citizens of our state owe a huge debt of gratitude to a broad bipartisan coalition of groups and individuals from every corner of Michigan who joined together to fight outside interests bent on putting a stranglehold on how we do business here. Through the Michigan League for Human Services, a broad public education effort was undertaken to inform organizations about the practical impact and dangers of the SOS proposal. – Oct 06 Click here for update.

League Monitors SOS Proposal

In recent months Michigan voters have been asked to sign an initiative petition called Stop OverSpending (SOS), which would put a rigid spending formula into the state constitution. This proposal is modeled on Colorado’s so-called “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” (TABOR) that was adopted in that state in 1992. TABOR limits the growth of state and local revenues or expenditures to a highly restrictive formula — the annual change in population plus inflation.

The Michigan League for Human Services is closely monitoring tax and spending limit proposals across the country. Proposals such as Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) pose a significant threat to public services and the overall quality of life in states in which such proposals are being considered.

Defend Michigan Coalition Announces Opposition to SOS Constitutional Spending Limit Ballot Initiative – On May 22nd the Michigan League for Human Services and 23 other organizations from across Michigan convened a press conference to announce the formation of the Defend Michigan Coalition, a broad-based network dedicated to educating community organizations, associations, public officials and the general public about the Stop Overspending (SOS) ballot initiative.

  • Click here for the Defend Michigan Coalition Press Release;
  • Click here for the Defend Michigan Coalition Members
  • Click here to join the coalition or become involved in other ways; and
  • Click here Stop OverSpending (SOS) Analysis.

Opposition to SOS:

View the Videos:

  • The Real Story Behind TABOR TABOR video (A 9 minute video drawing from the longer version that includes the favorable outcome of Referendum C in November 2005, through which Colorado voters put a five year hold on TABOR.) Feb 06
  • The Real Story Behind TABOR TABOR video (A 13 minute video highlighting the impact of TABOR in Colorado and why other states should avoid a similar spending limit.) Jan 06


Several resources are available regarding the SOS initiative in Michigan and the potential impact of TABOR type proposals in our state:

  • Senate Fiscal Agency Analysis of SOS (August 2006) — click here and Defend Michigan Press Release — click here
  • Proposed Constitutional Spending Limit Poses Grave Threat to Michigan’s Fiscal Health — click here (March 2006)
  • Talking Points — click here.
  • Michigan’s Stop OverSpending (SOS) Proposal — click here for a fact sheet about the SOS Proposal (March 2006)
  • Defend Michigan Nonprofits: How the “SOS” Proposal Would Impact Michigan Nonprofits — click here.
  • Danger Ahead: New Spending Limits Proposed in Michigan – A discussion regarding the need for a new limit on state spending has begun in Michigan. The advocates for this proposal, which would hold year-to-year spending increases to no more than inflation plus population growth, while placing no limits on program reductions during periods of declining revenues, argue that such a limitation would force the state to “live within its means,” and prevent runaway state spending and program growth. Click here for the report. — Revised Aug05
  • Dangers Lurk in Tax ‘Rights’ – In response to suggestions that Michigan should adopt a spending limit similar to TABOR the League submitted an op-ed commentary that appeared in the Detroit Free Press on January 30, 2006. Click here for full text of the op-ed commentary.– Feb 06