Senate is considering Taxpayer Bill of Rights rejected by 30 other states
Bill would lock in recession-era education cuts
Only Colorado has tried TABOR, with bad results
By Rob Christensen
It was only a matter of time before the libertarian wing of the Republican Party rolled out its latest weapon to, in the immortal words of Grover Norquist, shrink government “to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bath tub.”
That is the pleasantly sounding Taxpayer Protection Act that is making its way through the state Senate this week. The bill would put before voters a constitutional amendment that would cap the personal income tax at 5 percent, tie spending increases in the state to population growth and inflation, and create an emergency fund that would be spent only with a two-thirds vote in the legislature.
This legislation is designed to lock in what U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis called “the conservative revolution’’ in Raleigh by tying the hands of future legislatures to improve schools, universities and roads.
This type of legislation, most often called TABOR for Taxpayers Bill of Rights, has been championed in some 30 states across the country by conservative groups. The most notable is Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC.
But only one state, Colorado, has adopted a TABOR-type constitutional amendment, which it did in 1992, although it later suspended it for five years in response to a rapid decline in public services.
Senate Appropriations Committee co-chairs Brent Jackson of Sampson County and Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County issued a joint statement defending TABOR-type legislation last week.
“The real danger to our state’s finances and reputation are irresponsible politicians who tax and spend beyond our means and who rack up too much debt,” they said. “Allowing North Carolinians to vote to keep politicians from going on wild spending sprees will clearly protect our state’s financial health.”
Jackson and Rucho seem confused. They must think they live in Illinois or California. Continue reading