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State Constitutional PoliticsGoverning by Amendment in the American States$
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John Dinan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226532783

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226532950.001.0001

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Policy-Constraining Amendments

Policy-Constraining Amendments

(p.153) Chapter Five Policy-Constraining Amendments
State Constitutional Politics

John Dinan

University of Chicago Press

This chapter, one of three chapters (along with chapters 6 and 7) analyzing policy-related state constitutional amendments, examines amendments that constrain the policy choices of public officials. The chapter identifies various kinds of policy-constraining amendments and the reasons they have been adopted. As the chapter shows, groups and officials have been led to enact policy-constraining amendments because they have viewed public officials as susceptible to undue influence form powerful groups when making policy in certain areas or likely to act in a short-sighted manner and without due regard for the long-term public interest. An early wave of nineteenth-century amendments prohibited legislatures from chartering or operating lotteries. In the mid-nineteenth century, amendments prevented legislatures from investing in banks and other corporations and undertaking internal improvement projects. Amendments in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have constrained state officials’ ability to raise, spend, and borrow money, through adoption of tax-and-expenditure limitation amendments, debt-limitation amendments, balanced-budget amendments, and amendments requiring revenue to be deposited in rainy-day funds and trust funds.

Keywords:   lotteries, internal improvements, banks, debt, balanced budget, rainy day fund, tax-and-expenditure limitation

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