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At the opening of the 104th Congress, the new Republican majority imposed the first supermajority requirement "limited to particular cases" in the history of Congress. The unanswered question is whether the Rule is a good idea, particularly whether this Rule is well designed. The states have extensive experience with supermajority requirements for tax increases. This article attempts to answer the question of supermajority design. If alterations in the tax code are to be restricted, how should they be limited? To what type of bills should a supermajority requirement apply? At what level should the requirement be implemented? When and how should the legislature be allowed to avoid the rule? Part II discusses the current House rule and considers why it was imposed, whether or not it is constitutional, and the effect the rule has had in practice. Part III moves to the states' experiences with supermajority requirements, and examines both the de jure limitations on legislative behavior and the practical effects of various forms of supermajority requirements. Finally, Part IV discusses the primary alternative method that has been used to limit state tax growth: revenue caps.

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Akron Tax Journal



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