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Lawmakers consider a Spending Cap

Some Republican lawmakers are calling for a constitutional limit on the ability of lawmakers to spend tax dollars. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

The Hancock Amendment already limits the state's ability to collect tax revenue.

This proposed constitutional amendment would limit the legislature's ability to spend tax revenue.

The measure would also establish a savings account that would collect money during good economic times and feed money into the budget during revenue shortfalls.

The sponsor of the proposal is Brad Lager.

He says the lid on spending would be controlled by inflation measures.

Because the proposal would amend the constitution, voters would have the final say.

Lager says Missourians should have the final say on this issue.

The proposal has drawn sharp criticism from a number of social welfare groups and the National Education Assocaition.

Otto Fagin is the lobbyist for the N-E-A.

He says it's not a good idea to send the issue to voters.

Fagin and others say the proposal would lead to a reduction in vital state services.

Amy Blouin is the executive director of the Missouri Budget Project.

She says the amendment is not necessary.

Opponents of the proposal say they DO support a measure in the senate that would create a savings account for fiscal emergencies...That proposal does NOT include a cap on spending.

Representative Rob Schaaf is a family physician who's had a personal experience with mercury.

He says he had terrible allergies until a dentist removed his mercury fillings.

Schaaf says he supports vaccines and doesn't want people to stop getting immunizations.

But Democratic Representative Jeff Harris says he opposes the bill because he believes it's part of a larger, anti-vaccine movement.

Harris says he doesn't think science supports the conclusion that mercury in vaccines causes autism.

But Schaaf says even if the science isn't conclusive, he'd rather err on the side of safety.

The Centers for Disease Control has recommended that drug companies remove mercury from vaccines.

Bill supporters say they hope the legislation will force companies that haven't complied with the recommendation to remove the heavy metal from their vaccines.

Harris says while he sympathizes with parents who have autistic children, he doesn't believe this bill will address their concerns.

A lobbyists for several pharmaceutical companies testified against the bill at a recent public hearing.

The bill faces a final vote in the House before it can move to the senate for consideration.