An Assessment of the New Zealand Taxpayer Rights Bill in Light of Colorado's Experience

56 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2011

See all articles by Chye-Ching Huang

Chye-Ching Huang

University of Auckland; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)

Date Written: April 10, 2011


The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (known as “TABOR”) was a 1992 amendment to the Constitution of the US state of Colorado. Adopted by referendum, TABOR restricts growth in Colorado state government spending and revenues to the sum of population growth plus inflation. TABOR’s key benefit was said to be that it would increase economic growth. Perhaps for this reason, the OECD, 2025 Taskforce, and New Zealand Business Roundtable have suggested that New Zealand consider importing a version of TABOR, and the current Government has agreed to consider this idea at select committee. This article analyses whether New Zealand should adopt the NZTRB by evaluating TABOR’s impact on Colorado, taking into account both differences between TABOR and the NZTRB as drafted, and differences between New Zealand and Colorado’s legal and fiscal frameworks. The NZTRB would likely have significant impacts on New Zealand’s constitution, government size and composition, and fiscal framework. There is no prior academic work analyzing the NZTRB.

Keywords: TABOR, New Zealand Taxpayer Rights Bill, Tax and Expenditure Limitation, TEL, Taxpayer Bill of Rights, spending cap, fiscal rule, budget framework, fiscal constitution

JEL Classification: H1, H2, H5, H6, H7

Suggested Citation

Huang, Chye-Ching, An Assessment of the New Zealand Taxpayer Rights Bill in Light of Colorado's Experience (April 10, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Chye-Ching Huang (Contact Author)

University of Auckland ( email )

12 Grafton Rd
Private Bag 92019
Auckland, 1010
New Zealand

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) ( email )

820 First Street, NE 510
Washington DC, 20002
United States

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