Saturday, January 14, 2006

Reader Mail: The Anti-TABOR

William from Colorado disputes my assertion that the terrible AJR 71 has no chance of getting through the Legislature and passed by the voters. He writes:

On your blog, you noted the educational amendment to TABOR, Assembly JointResolution 71,and said it has little chance of passing. Au contraire! Our moronic state did just that. After passing TABOR, a few years later,under the usual "WE OWE IT TO OUR CHILDREN!" campaign, Colorado voters passed Amendment 23, which states:

* It requires the state to increase the base per pupil funding, and funding for certain specified programs (called categoricals) for K-12 by at least inflation plus one percent each year for ten years, and by at least inflation thereafter.

* It establishes the State Education Fund which receives the amount of the tax on one third of one percent of Colorado taxable income (about 7% of total state income tax). This fund is then used to meet the additional funding requirements of amendment 23 and other specified educational programs.

* It includes a "maintenance of effort" clause to ensure the solvency of the State Education Fund by requiring that current K-12 General Fund spending is not diverted. This General Fund K-12 spending requirement contains an "escape valve" which is activated when personal income growth falls below a specified level.

So this is the VERY thing you mentioned, and upon which the WI Amendment is no doubt based. Educational funding can never, EVER go down, no matter howmuch or how little income rolls into state coffers.This created a budget problem in Colorado in recent years, which this pastelection cycle resulted in the passage of Amendment C, which gave the state theright to KEEP funds that would have otherwise been disbursed under TABOR.Of course our (allegedly) Republican governor praised this as a good thing, promising things like road construction to alleviate the congestion Denver area drivers suffer daily.

However, immediately after passage, the Democrat-controlled legislature toldthe governor that, in effect, new roads would be built over their dead bodiesand that 100% of the monies now available would be spent on social issues.Now groups are crawling out of the woodwork to spend the new money, as one wouldexpect.As part of the pro-C campaign, it was said that if had not passed the Universityof Colorado would have faced draconian budget cuts (this whining done largelyby another alleged Republican, Hank Brown); instead immediately afterpassage the Denver Post revealed, in an article they ADMITTED they had heldoff publishing until after the election, that the University regularly wastedmillions of dollars on things like limosines for CU Regents.

So don't be so quick to dismiss AJR 71 as moronic; it's the law here in Colorado.

-William