September 01, 2006

Another Setback for TABOR Advocates

TABOR advocates have been busy this year, promoting spending tax cap voter initiatives in Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, and Oregon. Although the name of the initiatives is changes from state to state, the idea is the same: limit government spending increases to the increase in population plus inflation. The idea was first implemented in Colorado in 1992, with predictable results: underfunded schools and highways. In fact, according to a report by The Bell Policy Center, Colorado‚’s funding under TABOR for K-12 and higher education and public health ranked last or next to last compared to peer states. By 2002, Colorado's budget deficit had soared to 9.2%, making it the third worst in the nation. In November of 2005, the people of Colorado told Denver they'd had enough, and voted in a five year suspension on TABOR. But that hasn't stopped TABOR true believers from trying to expand the program to other states.

Now, business has joined the fight against TABOR. Kiplinger is already warning us to "Expect businesses to mount pitched battles to defeat such [TABOR] initiatives in Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada,and Oregon"
. The article goes on to explain the business community's to TABOR: "Companies fear that a lack of state spending on services and infrastructure will make it impossible for them to attract talented employees[...]". The Tulsa Chamber of Commerce has joined the fight against TABOR in Oklahoma, saying that the measure was a failure in Colorado and predicting that TABOR would be a "train wreck" in Oklahoma. Most damning of all, the Denver Chamber of Commerce has called their state's TABOR provision "a proven failure", and warned other states not to make the same mistake. Every day across the country the chorus of voices opposing TABOR grows louder and louder. Expect TABOR advocates to have a tough time at the polls this fall.


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