Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Colo. Referenda Colo. Referenda

About a decade ago, Colorado voters passed the Tax Payers Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment to the constitution. It set strict spending limits on govt. and mandated that excess tax revenues be returned to the voters, unless approved by the voters. Then, a couple of years later, they passed Amdt. 23, which locked in K-12 spending increases, regardless of tax revenues. Fine during the 1990s boom, but the combination caused problems with the bust that followed. Since then, everything else in the budget has been squeezed.

Yesterday, there were two connected referenda on the ballot. Referendum C would let the govt. keep any refunds for the next 5 years. Ref. D allowed the state to borrow money for a number of things, most notably roads, and pay such borrowing back from those unpaid refunds.

It was a vicious campaign on both sides. But in the end, Ref. C won and Ref. D lost. I had tried to do a vote swap with my father for just that combination. I strenuously objected to D because the borrowed money would have to be paid back even in an economic downturn, but didn't mind C nearly as much becuse in such a downturn, the C refunds would dry up and become moot. The Colo. voters agreed with me there, showing a lot more intelligence and discretion than they are usually given credit for.

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