Mar 04

Will Democratic Primary Voters Tolerate a Liberal? A former Colorado governor will test whether the Sandernistas have taken over the party.

Will Democratic Primary Voters Tolerate a Liberal?

A former Colorado governor will test whether the Sandernistas have taken over the party.

By James Freeman

March 4, 2019 4:55 p.m. ET


Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper at a campaign house party in Manchester, N.H. last month. PHOTO: ELISE AMENDOLA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is claiming a socialist victory in the battle of ideas. Meanwhile former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is running for President and testing whether economic non-extremists can still win Democratic presidential primaries.

Sunday in Chicago, Mr. Sanders implied that people no longer view him as a Marxist kook. The Chicago Tribune reports on a Sanders speech at Navy Pier:

“Three years ago, they thought we were kind of crazy and extreme, not the case anymore,” he said. “We are not only going to defeat (President Donald) Trump, we are going to transform the United States of America.”

 

Mr. Sanders has certainly made extremism cool among Democratic presidential candidates. All of his fellow senators seeking the party’s nomination have joined him in co-sponsoring the Green New Deal and its promise of government health care and the end of traditional energy sources. They have also voted for an abortion policy so expansive that it allows adults to decide the fate of children even when they are no longer in the womb. Continue reading

Feb 28

State finances are enjoying flush times and some states are sending that bounty back to taxpayers.

Some States, Flush With Cash, Are Sending Money to Taxpayers

Ten years after the recession, many states have revenue surpluses and plan to boost spending or cut taxes

State finances are enjoying flush times and some states are sending that bounty back to taxpayers.
 
Arkansas this month lowered its top personal income-tax rate by 1 percentage point to 5.9% and South Carolina has proposed an income tax rebate to all residents who file returns. In Florida, the governor has proposed lowering property and sales taxes. The givebacks come even as all three states proposed increased spending on education and other priorities.
 
Ten years after the recession, many states have the choice of what to spend revenues on rather than what programs to cut. The National Conference of State Legislatures found in a fall survey that 48 states expected to meet or exceed their revenue expectations.
 
“States have come off of a strong last fiscal year, and the economy is strong so they’re expecting it to continue,” said Kim Rueben, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center. “It could mean more spending or cutting taxes.”

Continue reading

Feb 20

THAT’S… A SUPERMAJORITY: 71 Percent of Coloradans Support TABOR

THAT’S… A SUPERMAJORITY: 71 Percent of Coloradans Support TABOR

Well ain’t this something?

new poll was released indicating overwhelming support of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, which most Coloradans lovingly refer to as TABOR. Fully 71 percent of the 500 Coloradans surveyed expressed support for the policy, and lest you think these numbers are skewed, the breakdown of who was asked is… rather reflective of an actual election in Colorado: 37 percent of respondents were either unaffiliated or members of a third party, 32 percent were Democrats, and 31 percent were Republicans.

TABOR, for those uninitiated into wonky public policy, can be defined simply and as follows:

TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, is an amendment to the state constitution passed in 1992 which requires state and local government to seek voter approval in order to raise taxes and also limits growth in state spending to population growth plus inflation. If the state collects more revenues than it is allowed to spend, then it must return the surplus to the taxpayers.

To put it another way, TABOR allows the people of Colorado to decide amongst themselves on tax increases. It’s one of the most publicly-empowering policies in the entire country, and, yeah, it’s pretty freakin’ popular in our beloved state.

Remember this when Democrats at the State Capitol introduce legislation that either puts a dent in, or otherwise seeks to circumvent TABOR. Every time they do it (and trust us, they do it), Democrat lawmakers are implicitly telling us that we’re not smart enough to determine our own state’s financial future.

For our part, we trust your gut on TABOR. And you’ll be happy to know that you’ve got a lot more friends than foes.

THAT’S… A SUPERMAJORITY: 71 Percent of Coloradans Support TABOR

Feb 15

Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights should be strengthened, not repealed

Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights should be strengthened, not repealed

JAY STOOKSBERRY

On Jan. 15, a briefly worded initiative was presented to the Colorado Title Board for consideration to be placed on the 2020 ballot. The brevity of the proposal was commendable. Five words was all it needed: “TABOR – Repeal (Full TABOR Repeal).” Though speculative at this point, defenders of Article X Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution — better known as the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) — should prepare for a fight in 2020.

Well before TABOR became law in 1992, opponents concocted every possible scenario as to how this new constitutional amendment would lead to fiscal armageddon in Colorado. Nearly three decades after its passing, most of this hyperbole — as is the case for most hyperbole — never materialized.

Where is Colorado from a fiscal perspective? According to the States Project, Colorado ranks 30th in the country for total state debt (including unfunded liabilities) as a percentage of gross state product. The Mercatus Center ranks our state as 28th in the nation regarding a combination of solvency for cash, budget, long-run spending, service-level flexibility, and unfunded liabilities. U.S. News ranked Colorado 31st in fiscal stability.

It would seem Colorado is middle of the pack at best. TABOR did not ruin our state’s ability to manage the general fund.

Contrary to popular wisdom of the Chicken Littles who warned about how damaging it would be to Colorado, TABOR doesn’t need to be repealed; it needs to be strengthened. Continue reading

Jan 25

Is Colorado really blue? Not necessarily, new survey shows

Is Colorado really blue? Not necessarily, new survey shows

Published: Jan. 24, 2019 • By Lisa Marshall

Is Colorado a blue state now?

Not necessarily, suggests a new CU Boulder survey that paints the state’s voters in more nuanced shades. The third annual Colorado Political Climate Survey released in full today, found that while Democratic candidates did sweep statewide races on election day, registered voters remain split on hot-button issues, such as fracking and whether businesses have the right to deny services based on religious beliefs.

“This was a midterm year, and therefore was expected to be a good year for Democrats nationally given the backlash toward the presidential administration. Perhaps no state had more of a blue wave than Colorado,” said Scott Adler, director of the American Politics Research Lab (APRL) and co-author of the study. “But based on our findings I would not call the state a permanent or fixed blue state. On many issues, it is still moderate.”  Continue reading

Dec 28

It’s Not Too Late….

The World Happiness Report provides data and research used around the world to help shape and inform policy.

Among its findings: giving to others is good for you.  It makes you feel happy.1-8

 Since 1992, the TABOR Foundation protects the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.  We educate citizens on why it matters to have a vote on increased taxes and how a formula for predictable growth creates a sound economy.

We are all volunteers.

We give advice and direction to citizens working at their local level to stop TABOR violations. We assist as plaintiffs and “friends of the courts in lawsuits to stop such violations.

The biggest trick of politicians is calling a new tax a “fee” – whether it’s for plastic grocery bags, living in a special district, running a hospital, driving over a bridge, or funding a mandatory family leave program with an insurance “fee.” We’ve responded to inquiries not just in Colorado, but in states like South Dakota, Kansas, Arizona, Alaska and Florida.

Please donate:

  • Help fund our Speaker’s Bureau to educate fellow taxpayers about their rights.
  • Help produce the TABOR 101 series of policy/how-to videos.
  • Help fund the legal fees for amicus briefs.

Please donate.   You – and we – will be happy you did.

Thanks – and Happy New Year!

Your friends at the TABOR Foundation

https://www.facebook.com/coloradoTABOR/

www.theTaborFoundation.org

Continue reading

Dec 15

Nicolais: An attack on TABOR could leave Colorado Democrats feeling the squeeze

Nicolais: An attack on TABOR could leave Colorado Democrats feeling the squeeze

A court composed of mostly Hickenlooper appointees turns the governor down cold, setting up a possible legislative showdown

PUBLISHED ONDEC 9, 2018 5:55AM MST

Mario Nicolais@MarioNicolaiEsq

Special to The Colorado Sun

Before walking out the door from the governor’s office, John Hickenlooper took one last shot at a Democratic boogeyman. Last week, the Colorado Supreme Court denied Hickenlooper’s parting attempt to undercut TABOR, the conservative taxpayer’s bill of rights enshrined in the Colorado constitution.

Democrats, have long derided TABOR for the constraints it places on government. Not only does TABOR require a vote of the people to approve tax increases, but several of its provisions work in conjunction with other laws to create a “ratcheting effect” on government spending.


Mario Nicolais

If revenues drop during an economic downturn, they cannot return to prior levels as the economy rebounds. Instead, growth is artificially tied to the down year plus a pittance for inflation.

The ratchet works like boa constrictor wrapped around a person. With every breath out, the snake squeezes a little tighter and the next breathe in is a little shallower.

Eventually, no breath can be drawn, and the person dies. I’m sure it delights TABOR’s progenitor, the eccentric Douglas Bruce, to imagine the government being asphyxiated.

Democrats have a little different view; they see a snake crushing the life from Colorado citizens. Gasping for funds no longer available, state and local services wither and waste away. Continue reading