The goal of this calculator is to introduce the general public to TABOR and its benefits to taxpayers. If you’re interested in a deeper dive for your state, please contact us to book a pro bono consulting appointment. Dr. Barry Poulson, Dr. John Merrifield, and the ALEC Center for State Fiscal Reform team are excited to work with you!

The state descriptions of TELs draw on Dr. Merrifield and Dr. Poulson’s 2016 paper, “A Dynamic Scoring Simulation Analysis of How TEL Design Choices Impact Government Expansion” and Cody Kallen’s 2017 paper, “State tax and expenditure limitations and supermajority requirements: New and updated data.” Updates to state TEL descriptions since 2017 were provided by Skip Estes and Thomas Savidge.

The calculator for each state is based on three main variables:

  1. What the state actually spends in inflation-adjusted dollars.
  2. A hypothetical TABOR based on the annual growth rate of population plus the annual growth rate of inflation, adjusted for inflation.
  3. A “What if?” scenario where we estimate how much a state would spend if that hypothetical TABOR were in place, adjusted for inflation.

These three scenarios are applied to just general fund spending and total state spending minus federal funds. Actual spending data is taken from the National Association of State Budget Officers Annual State Expenditure Report for both total and general fund spending.

Calculations for each state’s hypothetical TABOR are based on calculations from The Mercatus Working Paper “State Spending Restraint: An Analysis of the Path Not Taken” by Matthew Mitchell. We have expanded on this work by applying Mitchell’s calculations to all 50 states and using base years for all years from 1992 (the year TABOR was enacted in Colorado) to present day.