NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 7, 2005

Colorado?s Taxpayer?s Bill of Rights (TABOR) has been a boon to the state?s economy, but Governor Bill Owens (R) now seeks to undo it, writes the Wall Street Journal.

Passed in 1992, TABOR limits increases in state spending to inflation and population growth and returns surplus revenues to taxpayers. Largely due to the restraints of TABOR, the 1990s were the most prosperous decade in Colorado history:

  • Between 1997 and 2000, state taxpayers received $3.25 billion in TABOR rebates.
  • By freeing up capital in the private sector, TABOR led to the doubling of private-sector jobs and a boost to productivity.
  • Between 1992 and 2002, the average Colorado family paid $16,000 less in state taxes than in the decade prior.

Colorado was also quick to rebound from the last recession. But Governor Owens, once a staunch supporter of fiscal responsibility, is now working with the Democratic Legislature to loosen TABOR?s requirements:

  • Eliminate the TABOR limits on how fast government can grow as a share of the economy.
  • Allow the state to spend a half-billion dollars more each year ? money that would normally be refunded to taxpayers.

The Journal says Owens? proposals are very similar to what tax-and-spend Democrats have been pushing for years, and what has gotten other states into financial trouble.

Source: Editorial, ?Rocky Mountain Revenue Grab,? Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2005.

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