Their Power


Paul Jacobs pictureTheir Power

Boo hoo.

Thirty-three hifalutin members of Colorado’s political elite — state legislators, former legislators, board of education officials, city and county politicians, and assorted insiders — are whining as plaintiffs in what’s called a federal case.

Why? They lost an election … in 1992! Now, as the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals put it, “Plaintiffs claim that they have been deprived of their power over taxation and revenue.”

Over 22 years ago, Coloradans petitioned the Taxpayer Bill of Rights onto the ballot and voters passed it. Known as TABOR, the constitutional amendment limits the growth of government spending, unless voters approve higher spending levels. It also requires voter approval for tax increases, except in an emergency. The politicians objected at the time, but have since lacked both the courage and the democratic sensibility to take the issue back to the people.All this by routine.

Instead, they’re suing to overturn the result.

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The legal theory behind the lawsuit? That TABOR limits the legislature’s ability to unilaterally raise taxes or spend money as it pleases, thus denying the state a “fully effective legislature” — thus TABOR violates the federal constitution’s guarantee that each state have a republican form of government.

Last week, the 10th Circuit ruled the state legislators have standing to sue the people of Colorado over the legislators’ right to tax and spend without a bunch of pesky voters getting in the way.

Those who founded our republican form of government would be absolutely astounded … if they could only be stopped, first, from spinning at such high rates of speed.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


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