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 12,144,740,000
    1993 12,750,170,000
    1994 13,448,750,000
    1995 14,710,100,000
    1996 15,816,900,000
    1997 16,355,990,000
    1998 16,791,990,000
    1999 17,560,410,000
    2000 17,469,000,000
    2001 16,027,880,000
    2002 17,064,000,000
    2003 16,695,810,000
    2004 17,664,780,000
    2005 18,113,270,000
    2006 18,112,000,000
    2007 19,593,750,000
    2008 18,960,000,000
    2009 19,048,790,000
    2010 17,431,000,000
    2011 17,591,550,000
    2012 17,882,250,000
    2013 17,464,010,000
    2014 17,385,500,000
    2015 18,096,890,000
    2016 18,307,530,000
    2017 18,405,840,000
    2018 18,208,340,000
    2019 18,092,130,000
    2020 17,699,000,000
*All spending figures are in inflation-adjusted 2020 dollars.