Columnist Mike Rosen: NO on Proposition CC
2019 Colorado ballots have already been mailed out to voters. This year
there are no candidate races and only two state-wide propositions as
compared to the raft of complicated ballot measures in 2018. Proposition CC
was referred to the voters by the state legislature, not by citizens
through petition campaigns.
Proposition CC - Retaining State Government revenue. VOTE NO.
A "yes" vote would allow the state to retain any surplus of revenues in
excess of spending not only in fiscal year 2018-2019 but in all years to
come. A "no" vote requires the state to refund budget surpluses to taxpayers
as now required under current law.
In the Colorado Constitution, The Taxpayer's Bill of
Rights (TABOR) limits state government spending and taxation through a
formula tied to population growth and inflation. Direct voter approval is
required to change the limit. Article X, Section 20 (7) (d) reads: "If
revenue from sources not excluded from fiscal year spending exceeds these
limits in dollars for that fiscal year, the excess shall be refunded in the
next fiscal year unless voters approve a revenue change as an offset."
Through that last clause, Prop CC is asking voters to give up their
prospective TABOR refunds permanently. It would spend those budget surpluses
in equal shares on K-12 education, higher education and transportation
without specifying how the money will be spent within those categories,
leaving that to legislative whims now and in the future. Look at it this
way: state government spending on K-12 in FY 2018-2019 exceeded $7 billion.
Eliminating taxpayer refunds would direct an additional $103 million to K-12
education starting in FY 2020-2021. Seven billion is seven thousand million.
One hundred million is a comparative drop in the bucket.
TABOR was passed as a petitioned amendment to the state constitution in
1992 by a
direct vote of the people . It was generally favored
by Republicans and opposed by Democrats. Although Republicans had a majority
in both houses of the state legislature that year, opposition by Democrat
Gov. Roy Romer, foreclosed legislative action.
To Democrats, Prop CC is just the first step in killing TABOR entirely which
they plan to do with a ballot measure in 2020 if they can buy enough votes
promising goodies at someone else's expense. Democrats now control the
legislature and the governor's office. Without TABOR limitations on
government spending and taxes, their radical, progressive agenda will cause
spending and taxes to soar. As we've seen in other states, this will
discourage businesses, drive out private investment, fleece taxpayers and
undermine Colorado's vibrant economy.