On Tax Increase Limitations: Part I -- A Costly Incoherence

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In this essay, the first of a series, we explore the theoretical implications of one particular type of fiscal limitation on state legislatures - namely, special rules limiting tax increases. In this first essay we will explore the analytic soundness of these tax increase limitations (TILs). In future essays in this series we will analyze some of the consequences of TILs and in particular how they can be 'evaded.' We will argue over the course of this series of essays that because there is no meaningful content to the term 'tax increase' as it is used in TILs, legislative majorities that wish to do so can readily circumvent TILs. We will then propose alternatives to TILs to better promote fiscal management at the state and local levels.