The US Census Bureau released numbers on poverty yesterday and they have some eye-opening figures showing the failure of the Center-Left political consensus in Colorado that says more spending and taxes is the path to prosperity. Ever since Democrats took control of the Legislature in 2004, there has been a Center-Left consensus among the political elite in Colorado that says more state spending, and the higher taxes and fees that fund that higher spending, are the solution to our economic problems.
What began with the Democrats legislative take over, continued with big government policies like Ref C advocated by Republicans like former Governor Bill Owens and TABOR turncoat Norma Anderson. This orgy of new spending only increased under former Governor Bill Ritter with such boneheaded big government policies as the Mill Levy Freeze Tax Hike, the infamous Dirty Dozen tax increases, and Medicaid expansion bill HB 1293 that Rep. Ferrandino (D-Denver) incorrectly promised wouldn't cost "very much dollars."
What has all that taxing and spending wrought? Between 2004 and 2010 the poverty rate went up nearly 12%, with the largest increase seen in 2006, after Ref C passed and billions of dollars were removed from the private sector in one fell swoop.
As Ref C highlights, this was not just the failure of one political party, but rather a failure of the ideological consensus among the political elite in Colorado.
The Tea Party formed partly in response to Republicans buying into this liberal consensus on spending, and their efforts at bringing the GOP back to the conservative fold has helped to weaken the bipartisan formula for failure. You'll notice not one sitting GOP member of the Legislature has signed onto the legal assault on TABOR. Only those who were part of the problem before are plaintiffs.
Republicans in the Legislature this past session were united in opposing higher taxes and fees, with almost no exception. The Tea Party, and some brassy conservatives in the legislature before, during and after it, have steered the GOP back to its fiscally conservative moorings.
Still, with the Democrats in charge of it all for 4 years, the state still suffered the impacts of a series of higher tax and fee increases. Today, we learn that all these taxes and these fees for all these new government programs not only failed to help stem poverty. Poverty actually increased under their reign.
If massive new spending — state government spending went from $13.62 Billion in 2004 to $19.17 Billion in 2010 — only saw poverty increase, then maybe it's time to reevaluate that political consensus.