Politicians who challenge the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights have lost their way. They care more about state government than the people it governs.
House Bill 1257 represents the latest in a barrage of attempts by Colorado’s legislative Democrats to fundamentally change Colorado in one legislative session.
The adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” seldom proves wrong. Colorado ain’t broke now and it wasn’t broke when Democrats took control of the state with landslide victories in November. Watching them challenge the economy, with everything from an assault on the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to jobs-killing regulations on oil and gas, one would think we needed an economic overhaul.
A variety of data surveys consistently, year after year, rank Colorado’s economy among the five best, and sometimes the best, in the country.
Employment is high. Wages are growing. Housing prices reliably rise, substantially increasing the net worth of property owners. Population persistently grows along with jobs created by companies that choose to start or relocate here.
Over the past two decades, median household income has grown by 30 percent, in real dollars adjusted for inflation. Colorado consistently maintains a relatively low poverty rate.
Times have been good throughout most the last two decades of the 20th century and the first two of the 21st. This is a state to replicate, not reconstruct.
Separating Colorado from all other 49 states — one of these places is not like the others — is the state Constitution’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, best known as TABOR.
Because of TABOR, taxpayers do not have to worry about an ever-growing government behemoth that raises taxes by fiat (think California, Illinois, and other states people flee). To raise taxes, politicians must hold an election and convince voters of the need.
Because of TABOR, taxpayers do not worry about politicians recklessly spending surplus revenues during bull markets. Under a formula that accounts for population growth and inflation, state and local governments must return to individual taxpayers a significant portion of surplus revenues. Those returns circulate throughout the economy, improving the lives of those who wait tables, cut hair, fix cars, or buy and sell countless varieties of services and goods.
TABOR’s check on government taxing and spending protects the governed from politicians who too often forget who they work for and answer to. Politicians tell us they cannot afford roads, but can afford $150 million to build fancy offices for transportation executives. They cannot pay teachers what they deserve, but they can buy votes with a poorly managed Medicaid free for all. That type of thing.
HB 1257, if passed and signed into law, would put a proposal on the statewide ballot asking voters to let politicians keep TABOR refunds in perpetuity. The retained refunds, they tell us, would fund “schools, higher education, and roads, bridges, and transit.”
Don’t fall for this. Politicians have neglected all of the above, despite record-breaking revenues, with the sole intent of asking taxpayers to give them more money.
State politicians have not earned your trust, so do not give them the money protected for you by the state Constitution. Don’t reward dysfunction. Tell them “no” on HB 1257. When they ignore that advice, vote “no” on the ballot.