Colorado voters will soon be asked to approve an innocent-sounding ballot measure asking us to “just trust” state government to spend our tax dollars.
Proposition CC reads like a greeting card, not a serious question: “Without raising taxes and to better fund public schools, higher education, and roads, bridges and transit, within a balanced budget, may the state keep and spend all the revenue it annually collects after June 30, 2019, but is not currently allowed to keep and spend . . .?”
That makes it sounds like money is falling from the sky, but state officials can’t spend it.
Colorado state government will spend about $31 billion this year – $15,000 for every household in the state. Less than half of that money is subject to the TABOR spending limit that Prop CC would eliminate forever.
TABOR stands for Taxpayers Bill of Rights, a provision in Colorado’s constitution that limits how much government spending can increase each year and requires a public vote on new taxes. TABOR allows government spending to grow, just not faster than the population growth and inflation.
Since the last recession, TABOR has allowed government budgets to rebound to pre-recession levels. In those 10 years, the state budget has grown by 55% from $19.9 billion to $30.9 billion. During that same time, our state’s population has grown by just 15% and inflation has raised prices by 23%. (more…)