Seal of Missouri Missouri

Missouri has one of the strongest tax and expenditure limits in the country. In 1980, Missouri voters approved Amendment 5, known as the Handcock Amendment, to the Missouri Constitution and enacted one of the most stringent TELs of any state. Central to the Hancock Amendment is a limit on state revenue growth equal to the growth in Missouri personal income. If state revenue exceeds this limit by more than 1%, Missouri income taxpayers are entitled to a tax refund. Like TABOR in Colorado, it applies to both state and local governments.

The Hancock Amendment also limits the Missouri government’s ability to override the revenue limitation. If lawmakers want to raise taxes by more than the percentage growth in state income, they must seek approval from voters. The Hancock Amendment also restricts legislators from creating unfunded mandates on localities. Ensuring new mandates to localities are funded prevents lawmakers from avoiding the de facto expenditure limitation created by the state’s balanced budget amendment. Finally, the Hancock Amendment also gives legal standing to any taxpayer if the taxpayer wishes to enforce the Hancock Amendment through a lawsuit.


The Hancock Amendment also applies to localities. Missouri local governments are held to the same tax limitation and required voter approval for tax increases as the state government. Since local governments receive most of their income from property taxes, the Hancock Amendment adjusts slightly to fit this different revenue stream. If the sum of assessed property values within a locality exceeds the growth in consumer price index (CPI), except for new construction and improvements, then the locality-wide property tax rate must be rolled back to equal the previous tax year’s liability. This limitation on localities is key, because TELs that exclude local governments can allow localities to raise taxes and increase spending indiscriminately.

The base year represents the year the hypothetical Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) would have been enacted. Selecting a base year changes how the state’s TABOR is calculated because the annual growth rates of inflation and population change depending on when TABOR is enacted.
  • Year Inflation-adjusted Actual Spending
    1992 12,076,976,910
    1993 12,716,441,040
    1994 13,439,325,340
    1995 14,820,112,810
    1996 16,074,323,540
    1997 16,743,768,100
    1998 17,268,920,470
    1999 18,259,172,820
    2000 18,306,574,290
    2001 16,917,389,110
    2002 18,024,433,830
    2003 17,640,173,530
    2004 18,743,605,670
    2005 19,243,078,270
    2006 19,445,796,180
    2007 21,002,610,350
    2008 20,561,623,840
    2009 20,544,459,230
    2010 20,209,306,480
    2011 19,736,391,940
    2012 19,425,508,240
    2013 19,061,648,430
    2014 19,057,409,760
    2015 19,800,936,940
    2016 20,014,223,670
    2017 20,149,585,490
    2018 20,102,495,660
    2019 20,080,037,650
    2020 19,500,693,200
    2021 19,487,464,250
    2022 19,285,000,000
*All spending figures are in inflation-adjusted 2022 dollars.