Academic journal article Atlantic Economic Journal

The Line-Item Veto: A Reappraisal

Academic journal article Atlantic Economic Journal

The Line-Item Veto: A Reappraisal

Article excerpt

Many states have strengthened the budgetary power of governors by giving them the line-item veto. Practically every president in this century has requested the same power in order to balance the budget and reduce the national debt. While the experience of states might be instructive for the nation's chief executive, it is not entirely clear how successful governors have been in using the line-item veto to gain control over state budgets. Zycher |"An Item Veto Won't Work," WSJ, October 24, 1984~, for example, finds that states with item veto powers have higher levels of per capita spending than those states that do not. This brief note regards budgetary balance as more important than expenditures alone and asks whether states with the line-item veto have smaller deficits as a percentage of their original budget (hereafter referred to as the deficit percentage) than those states without it. Have Democrats or Republicans been more successful at using the line-item veto to reduce their deficit percentages? Does the value and workability of item veto power depend on the length of time the governor has been in office?

To answer these questions, a series of two-sample t-tests were run on the deficit percentages for each state in Fiscal Year (FY) 1991 |U.S. Congress, The Fiscal Condition of State and Local Governments: Hearing Before the Committee on the Budget, 1991, p. 81~. Only seven of the 50 states lack some form of item veto power for the governor: Indiana, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont |Book of the States, 1990-91, pp. …

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