(’76 Contributor) What could a Colorado family of four do with an additional $300 a month? Should taxpayers be able to keep more of their hard-earned money? Will that help create jobs and business? Do Colorado citizens deserve to have more money left over after deductions and taxes—to spend, save, invest or give away? Do you?

[Editor: This post advocating the three tax measures is a counterpoint to Mark Hillman’s recent post opposing them. Centennial Institute never takes an official position for or against ballot proposals, candidates for public office, or pending legislation.]

Opponents of Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101 have flooded the media “infosphere” by raising $6,863,021 (how much from out of state?) as reported by the Secretary of State, with $102,418.76 left (as of the October 18, 2010 report). Wow. Not surprisingly, many contributions are taxpayer dollars fighting taxpayers. Check out “Opposition Funding” at www.COtaxreforms.com. See who contributed and how much. Then ponder “WHY?”

Who are these opponents, surprisingly many from out-of-state, who have spent in excess of $6.76 million for sinful excess of TV, radio, newspaper, road and yard signs, badges, bumper stickers, plus public-influencing strategies and expertise being expended?

It is the ephemeral opponent organization, Coloradans for Responsible Reform. Have they ever reformed anything, rather instead, obstructing citizen initiatives that seek to contain government growth, power, spending, debt and taxation? When there’s an issue they’re there; when not, they’re not.

    1. The flip side of these issues provides great promise for Colorado’s people and future, in a custom-designed, long-range stimulus strategy for building Colorado’s true prosperity. It will help create more jobs, housing, businesses, product and service output; while ensuring a growing avalanche of revenues for Colorado governments, with concurrent diminishing need for them.
    2. The opposition tells how passage of 60, 61, 101 will reduce Colorado governments funding by $4.4 billion, that’s $4,400 million. With five million population, that’s about $880 per capita, or almost $3,600 for a family of four. What can happen when that family has an additional $300 a month to spend, save, invest or give away? And taking into account the vagaries of replacing it, they have to earn some $400 a month to regain that amount after taxes.
    3. Revisit some basic economics. Etch these four-words on the inside of your left eyelid, “Only people pay taxes”; the right eyelid, “Businesses pay no taxes.” All revenues, fees, taxes, etc., to finance jobs and functions in the public (government) sector come only from the private sector—business, commerce, industry. Businesses collect required taxes in their prices of goods and services, and by law pay them to the various governments. A prosperous, burgeoning private sector will pour tons of funds into governments.
    4. Speaking of Colorado governments, how many are there? Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs tallies 3,305 (http://dola.colorado.gov/dlg/local_governments/lgtypes.html , 10/23/10). With 2,860 governments in 2006 (Independence Institute Backgrounder IB-2007-F, August 2007, page 1), Colorado governments are growing an average rate of one additional government every four days. And they all demand a piece of the diminishing people tax pie. How much government and how many governments are enough?
    5. Do those who believe in Colorado’s economic, business, governmental, constitutional and legal system forget they can get all the tax revenues they need? Protected by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, all they have to do is ask for it. Determine that incoming revenues are insufficient to provide the necessary services, make the case and take it to the voters for approval. Example, state gasoline taxes have not been increased since 1994. Is it possible, even probable such a public vote on a five-, ten- or more cent-increase would pass?
    6. Do Coloradans already pay significant taxes? 2009 Economic Report of the President data show that per capita federal taxes for 2008 were $8,275; Colorado, $2,984 (from Colorado 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report), for a total of $11,259 taxes per capita—federal, state-and-local taxes, direct and mostly indirect.
    7. By way of comparison, in merry olde England, serfs (near-slaves?) paid one-third the fruits of their labor to the Manorial Lord for his protection and use of his land. Again, same 2009 ERP data, based on personal income, federal receipts were 20.2%, state, 16.1% for a total of 36.4% (total governments spending were 41.9% of personal income).
    8. Government employment growth from 2002 to 2009 in Colorado was 9.1% compared to the private sector’s 7.3%. At the state level, total full time equivalent employees, FTEs, in seven years, grew 11.3%—6,561—728 classified, state personnel system; 5,833 non-classified, Judicial, Legislative, Governor, Law, Education and Higher Education Departments. At the 2008 average annual Colorado FTE salary, benefits and perquisites of over $87,000, a million dollars annual State expenditure amounts to about 11.5 state employees.
    9. Virtually all this 60,61,101 opposition fundraising, negative publicity and promotion is part of the continuing effort to emasculate, defang and destroy Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. How good has TABOR been? A study of the 10-years before TABOR and 10-years after convincingly makes the point.
    10. For the 10-years before TABOR, Colorado all-government employment grew 21.1% (50,000), non-government employment 17.5% (198,000). For the 10-years after TABOR, all-government growth dropped to 20.0% (59,600); non-government growth more than doubled to 37.7% (526,400). (See “A Decade of TABOR,” Issue Paper No. 8-2003, page 7, http://old.i2i.org/articles/tabor2003.PDF ).
    11. In 1992 Colorado’s Governor said if TABOR passed he would have to post signs at Colorado’s borders, “Colorado is Closed for Business.” A County Sheriff I debated told the audience if it passed he would have to don his uniform, let most of his deputies go, and let jailed persons back out on the street. TABOR passed by over 53% in 1992.

Did the signs go up? Did their dire predictions come to pass? Do the scare tactics sound familiar?

  1. TABOR implementation began in 1993. In 1994 Colorado was judged to be the number one, best state in the nation, in business and economic performance. This was routinely reported in the “Development Report Card for the States,” published annually by the Washington DC-based, non-profit Corporation for Enterprise Development.
  2. Colorado continued number one in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999—six consecutive years. Could it be that as the establishment power structure continued to whittle away, dilute and destroy TABOR, its business and economic good began to go away.
  3. Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101 are a magnificent gift to the people and future of Colorado, a great and growing stimulus package that will reset Colorado government and get it back on track.
  4. If you do not want continuing high unemployment, higher taxes, more governments, bigger government, that gets more expensive, expansive, wasteful, intrusive, invasive, powerful and controlling of Colorado citizens, voters and taxpayers: Vote FOR 60, 61 and 101