Initiatives v Oligarchy

Our Founders' Warning: “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” (Thomas Jefferson)

How Much Will the IQA Cost?

States with Initiatives Project IQA Cost Estimates

This table of iqa cost shows the estimated funding that could be needed for contingency initiative projects in States that have the initiative process but whose legislatures are reluctant to endorse the Amendment.

The initiatives would attempt to get the planned U.S. Citizens’ Initiatives Amendment adopted-in-principle by any reluctant States and to assure their support for calling an Article V Convention.

Alaska X 2,700,000
Arizona X X 6,500,000
Arkansas X X 4,300,000
California X X 2,9700,000
Colorado X X 5,700,000
Florida X 1,5400,000
Idaho X 3,300,000
Illinois X 12,000,000
Maine X 3,200,000
Massachusetts X 7,200,000
Michigan X X 10,000,000
Mississippi X 4,400,000
Missouri X X 6,600,000
Montana X X 2,900,000
Nebraska X X 3,600,000
Nevada X X 3,900,000
North Dakota X X 2,700,000
Ohio X X 11,100,000
Oklahoma X X 4,900,000
Oregon X X 5,000,000
South Dakota X X 2,800,000
Utah X X 4,000,000
Washington X X 7,000,000
Wyoming X 2,600,000
24 14 +5 +5 161,500,000
Sources of Data:
Schevitz, Jan A., The Fourth Branch of Government. May 2000
Kearsley, Steve, San Francisco Chronicle. May 18-20, 1998
Initiatives & Referendum Institute


Note: The estimates are based on the largest and smallest costs referenced in the sources, and are linearly interpolated on the basis of States’ populations.

First Reference Point—Based on 2004 Data

The British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly (BCCA) in 2004 was the only recent comparable organization to the IQA. Its budget was $CAN 5.5 million. The Canadian dollar was about 80 percent of the U.S. Dollar, but U.S. wages tend to be somewhat higher than Canadian wages. For the purposes of roughly estimating U.S. costs, the Canadian dollar will be taken at par.

The BCCA had 160 members, who each served about 30 days over 11 months and were each paid an honorarium of $150 for a total of $720,000. By comparison, the IQA will have 480 members, who will each serve about 60 days over 12 months and will be paid $300 plus a potential bonus for a total of about $12,096,000.

One thing that is immediately apparent is that the BCCA administrative costs were far more than the Member’s remuneration. Assuming the IQA budget is $60 million per year, then the following table shows a comparison:

Comparison of BCCA and IQA Budgets (2004 Data)
Members 160 480 3
Service Days 30 72 2.4
Member-Days per Year 4800 34560 7.2
Daily Pay Rate and Bonus 150 350 2.3
Annual Remuneration 720000 12096000 16.8
Total Budget 5500000 60000000 10.9
Pay as % of Budget 0.131 0.202 1.5

These comparisons appear reasonable. The BCCA membership was more along the size that would be expected in a State as compared with a much larger nationwide Assembly. The BCCA was a one-off organization, so it is reasonable to expect their overheads to be higher than the IQA. The higher IQA Service Days and Member-Days per Year will be expected to be able to process several times more Initiatives per year than the BCCA.

Cost Estimate Breakdown

***A table will be added here.***

Cost of Running Congress

This is an area where current estimates are hard to find. The Cato Institute estimate the cost at $2.8 billion per year in 1993. It is reasonable to assume a 50 percent increase from 1993 to 2004, equating to $4.2 billion in 2004. The 2004 salary for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $158,100 per year. Members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits under the same plans available to other federal employees.