Drafts of the Building a Better Colorado effort to rework Colorado’s fiscal obligations outline several issues and just one solution: raise taxes. How funny that the only option presented by this organization that addresses any of the issues that the document lays out is to raise taxes.
We’ve translated for you the options that the document proposes.:
- Maintain status quo (this allegedly solves no problem…except preventing liberals from wasting taxpayer funds)
- Ask voters to allow state to retain revenue above current limits (aka, a tax increase)
- Ask voters to allow state to retain revenue above current limits (aka, a tax increase) and allow state legislature flexibility to establish funding priorities (aka, spend on legislators’ pet projects)
- Ask voters to allow state to retain revenue above current limits (aka, a tax increase) and dedicate it to specific programs and services (aka, spend on Democrats’ pet projects – bike lanes for all!)
- Ask voters to allow state to retain revenue above current limits (aka, a tax increase) for budget reserves (so other money could be used for pet projects)
- Exempt hospital provider fee from TABOR restrictions (aka, a tax increase)
- Ask voters to approve a ballot measure that pairs the hospital fee thing with a timeout from mandatory spending increases for K-12 spending (Amendment 23) during recessions
- Ask voters to change state revenue limit to a formula based on fixed percentage of economy (ditch TABOR)
- Ask voters to approve a measure creating a separate education fund (winning lottery ticket for teachers unions)
What’s hilarious about this document is that in the introduction, it wails that a study shows that by 2024, the General Fund will only be able to fund Medicaid (a safety net), K-12 education, and corrections. Is this document suggesting that TABOR is functioning exactly as designed – to limit government spending to only the essentials? Of course it is. And, that’s the problem. TABOR glaringly points out that Colorado has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. That’s why we have budget shortfalls while refunding money to taxpayers.
It’s not taxpayers who are not paying enough, it’s that legislators are funding every pet project (read: blowing taxpayer dollars) with the general fund. The “problem” that this document describes isn’t actually a problem at all – it’s a safeguard against outrageous spending by liberals.
But, it’s just fascinating that nowhere in this document does Building a Better Colorado suggest that Colorado could be a better steward of taxpayer funds, and that’s the very reason that Republicans and fiscally-conservative independents should write this group off as a liberal tax hike machine.