Missouri Republicans' favorite anti-tax law could blow up in their faces -- and end up defunding the police
Police are seen as demonstrators gather near Camden Yards to protest against the death in police custody of Freddie Gray in Baltimore April 25, 2015. REUTERS/Sait Serkan Gurbuz

For four decades now, Republicans in Missouri have kept taxes in the state low via the so-called Hancock Amendment that restricts the state government from increasing spending on state agencies by a given amount.

And as an editorial from the Kansas City Star explains, that amendment could be the very thing that could deny police in Kansas City critical funds that the department says it needs to combat crime.

"The Hancock Amendment also includes a little-noticed clause forbidding the state from imposing additional spending on cities and counties," the editors write. "The prohibition against these 'unfunded mandates' prevents the legislature from loading expensive state programs on the backs of city councils, county legislatures and their taxpayers."

This is relevant because the current budget figures project Kansas City will spend more than 20 percent of its revenue on the police this year, which is more than what would be allowed by the Hancock Amendment.

In other words, Republicans in the state would have to take a hammer to their favorite amendment if they want Kansas City to get the police funding it needs.

"If [conservatives] insist on requiring additional police spending from Kansas City's budget... they will have to shred the Hancock Amendment, a centerpiece of right-wing thought in Missouri for half a century," the editors write. "If the department has less than it thinks it needs, this year or next, the Hancock Amendment, and the conservatives who worship it, will be one reason why."

Read the whole editorial here.