‘If neither population growth nor the rate of inflation tells us how much the state legislature must spend to meet its obligations, why would we want to put the two together? And if we took that figure and made it a cap on increased spending, what would we know?
The so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) now moving from committee to committee in the state House would not only commence that dubious experiment; it will, if enough voters can be won over, become part of our state’s constitution.
The number has no real meaning. It’s part of a device to prevent future legislatures from spending revenues over and beyond what’s in the reserve fund. Its purpose is to bind the hands and usurp the judgment of representatives not yet elected, and for generations to come.
Fiscal policy doesn’t belong in the constitution. It’s a statutory matter because economic conditions change often and swiftly, and laws, unlike constitutional amendments, can be made to do the same.
Most of us probably wouldn’t like to see the state lose its top AAA bond rating, or have a small minority of lawmakers – 33 percent plus one – positioned to block the will of the majority on something important or urgent.
It’s a bad idea covered in glitz, another bid to substitute gimmickry for human judgment and political courage.’