Bragdon, O'Brien Differ On Tax and Spending Caps

Feb 15, 2012


Top house and senate republicans are at odds over constitutional amendments designed to keep government small. 

The state senate's proposed constitutional change would require a 60 percent vote by lawmakers to increase state spending beyond the rate of inflation. As passed by the house, the proposal would have required that same super-majority to borrow money or raise taxes.

According to Senate President Peter Bragdon the senate version amounts to common sense -- low taxes, he says, result from low spending.

 "Focusing on the spending side of the equation will result in lower taxes rather than to try and focus on the symptom rather than the problem."

 House speaker William O’Brien, meanwhile, says the senate-backed plan basically guarantees that government will grow. O’Brien says his commitment to the house’s approach is firm.

 "Clearly it takes both houses of the legislature to get it on the ballot. If the senate chooses not to then we’ll just wait for a different legislature."

 Opponents say the bottom line under either proposal  is the same: lawmakers would be handcuffed and property taxes will rise as communities are forced to pick of the cost of programs that state would inevitably cut.