State Sen. Jack Taylor: C and D will move Colorado forward
October 23, 2005
On Nov. 1, we Coloradans have an opportunity to truly affect the future of Colorado in a very positive way — by voting for referendums C and D. They will help our transportation, education and health care within Colorado and will move Colorado forward with a better economy.
This bipartisan effort was moved forward in the last Legislative session with more than 70 of the 100 legislators supporting it. I joined that effort early because I felt strongly that it was the right thing to do for Colorado’s future.
In the 13 years I have had the privilege of representing Northwest Colorado in the Legislature, through good times and bad, I have seen firsthand the budget problems facing Colorado. More than 90 percent of our budget is controlled by mandated federal programs and Colorado constitutional requirements that grow substantially each year as our population grows. That leaves less that 10 percent of the budget from which to make adjustments and cuts in order to meet Colorado’s constitutional balanced budget requirement — which we are fortunate to have. I do not believe in deficit spending.
The “mandated and constitutional obligations” that drive most of the budget and must be met force the Legislature to “take” funding from various departments and entities and move it to the mandated portions of the budget. This has resulted in cuts in virtually every segment of the budget — except the mandated areas.
The “easy cuts” have been made in the recent recessionary years when revenues dropped by 17 percent and Colorado lost 115,000 jobs. They were not easy cuts. Every one of them hurt somebody — children, higher education, transportation, roads and bridges, normal building maintenance, basic infrastructure, seniors — and the list goes on. As a result, we have a $500 million structural budget deficit. TABOR works great in a booming economy like we had in the 1990s and keeps government spending under control. Conversely, in recessionary times, it works against the ability of the state to meet the balanced-budget requirement and the growing demand for dollars built into the “mandated and constitutional obligations.” As a result, the basic infrastructure begins to break down, even when the economy starts to get better — as it is now — because of the “ratchet down” effect in TABOR.
Colorado’s economy is improving, as it is all across our country. However, unlike the 49 other states, Colorado is severely restricted in its ability to recover and invest in our future because of some of the limitations imposed by TABOR.
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Referendums C and D do not destroy TABOR. They apply TABOR as it was designed to work, by asking Colorado citizens and voters to approve a temporary timeout from TABOR for five years that allows Colorado to retain revenue and invest in specific areas: 55 road and bridge projects across Colorado; funding for textbooks and in-classroom instructions for K-12 education; funding to retain and maintain higher education; and much-needed funding for health care.
In the sixth year, TABOR will be reinstated with a reduction in the Colorado income-tax rate from 4.63 percent to 4.50 percent and an adjustment to the ratchet affect to prevent a similar problem in future recessions.
I would urge you to read the Blue Book, which has been sent to all households.t was prepared by the nonpartisan legislative council research staff of the state Legislature as required by the the Colorado constitution and Colorado law. Copies are also available through county clerks’ offices.
Since 1992, when TABOR was passed, more than 700 eligible entities have successfully asked voters to suspend certain revenue limits to allow those dollars to be earmarked for specific projects. This is called DeBrucing, and many of these entities are in Northwest Colorado. The difference is they are permanent DeBrucing of TABOR. The DeBrucing we propose under referendums C and D is temporary, because TABOR would go back into effect in the sixth year.
The opposition boasts that there are 13 other states looking to pass TABOR-like proposals. What they don’t tell you is that all of them have a ratchet-elimination correction feature for recessionary times to avoid the very budget problems that Colorado now faces.
Current numbers on registered supporters of referendums C and D exceed 1,050 entities and represent all facets and corners of Colorado. The number continues to grow daily.
Referendums C and D do not affect your state or federal income tax refunds. They only affect the TABOR rebates, or refunds and are estimated on page 4 of the Blue Book and are based on your individual income level. State economists and other experts estimate the average to be $491 for the five-year total, or 27 cents a day.
We must retain and improve Colorado’s ability to educate and retain our population and children to fill existing jobs as well as new jobs that come with a recovering and healthy economy. It also helps address the issue of new people moving into Colorado to fill those positions, which increases our population.
Referendums C and D are critical to the healthy future of Colorado. The call to action is now. The question: Are we willing to invest 27 cents a day for five years in Colorado’s future? say yes! Please join me in voting for referendums C and D, and ask your friends and neighbors to pass the message along to their spheres of influence.