Senator Heath’s Tax Increase Initiative

March 5, 2011

Thanks, Rollie, for pointing out the elephant in the room. There is no free lunch (or police and fire protection, education [K-12 or college], indigent or elderly healthcare, transportation infrastructure, or other governmental service). Colorado has been hoisted on Douglas Bruce’s petard: TABOR limits the relief our budget might receive in good times, and ratchets downward, making it more difficult to recover from bad times.

During Colorado’s 1990’s boom years, legislators voted to lower income taxes from 5% to 4.63% and sales taxes from 3% to 2.9% to avoid the need to write annual tax refund checks to every Colorado taxpayer. Senator Heath’s proposal would simply return the rates to where they were before one of TABOR’s ratchet quirks got in the way. Now, to restore our state income and sales taxes to whole numbers, 70,000 voters will have to sign a petition to place an initiative on the November ballot, and then we will all have to pass it. Thanks, Doug.

State Democrats are wary about seeking voter support of this TABOR induced tax “increase.” Republicans are gleeful. Where are the adults in the room? Anyone who witnessed the past four years of painful budget cuts by Governor Ritter should wonder whether we’ve yet reached bone – surely, the lion’s share of fat has been excised? We’re stealing our children’s future by cutting the programs, already funded at minimum levels, that provide them with some hope for better days. We should be ashamed, and we should support Rollie’s initiative.

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