A few weeks ago we wrote about an independent study commissioned by the Common Sense Policy Roundtable looking at the economic impacts of Senator Rollie Heath's proposed $3 Billion tax hike over 5 years. The study found that if the tax increase were to pass it would kill up to 119,700 jobs in Colorado and cause 3,610 less people to move to Colorado per year. Some liberal trolls scoffed at our use of the 119k number, claiming we had made it up out of thin air. Well this weekend, the Pueblo Chieftain printed an op-ed using that exact same number.
ColoradoPols response to our post was to try to claim that because the study's author has an odd Twitter profile picture his fiscal impact analysis has no credibility. We found this line of attack odd, especially since economists are not generally judged by or known for their looks, but when you can't defeat the message, you have to kill the messenger. Turns out they didn't do such a good job of killing the messenger.
The fact that the Pueblo Chieftain printed the op-ed with the 119,700 job loss figure gives it enormous credibility. Before an op-ed is printed, the claims in it have to be scrutinized by the paper and justified based on factual claims. The Chieftain clearly found it derived from more than just thin air.
Beyond just the credibility gained from the Pueblo Chieftain, the economist who authored the study, Dr. Eric Fruits of Portland State University, has a successful track record on fiscal impact studies of tax measures. In January 2010 Oregon passed two initiatives that retroactively increased taxes on high income individuals and corporations — a favorite target of liberals (Measures 66 & 67). Dr. Fruits conducted a study, published in December 2009, with the predicted fiscal impact of the measures. Check out this graph for how right his analysis was:
(Graph courtesy of Cascade Policy Institute)
The green line represents the state of Oregon's economic forecast before the tax hikes were passed. The orange line is Dr. Fruits predicted forecast if the measures passed, and the yellow line is the state of Oregon's forecast after the measures passed. To us that's a pretty clear visual demonstration of credibility.
Before liberals get their panties in a twist, claiming it was the recession that caused this and not the tax hikes, remember one salient fact. The measure passed in January 2010, years after the recession began and the banks collapsed. Had the measure passed in January 2008, there might be something significant to quibble with.
All in all, it looks as if the 119,700 number is beginning to take hold and that is not a good sign for Rollie's hope of hiking your taxes.