Proper Symbolism

The Green Bay Chronicle reports Wisconsin Rep. Frank Lasee is planning on introducing a version of the right-wing Taxpayer Bill of Rights (or TABOR) in his state “on a symbolic day — April 15, the deadline to file income taxes.”

Clever symbolism indeed, but given TABOR’s actual affect on the state of Colorado – the only place such legislation has been enacted (and where it is now being repealed) – a few other dates might be even more appropriate. For instance:

September 1: That’s the first day of public school in Green Bay. Students will likely notice TABOR’s deleterious effect on their education by the low-quality teachers and underfunded facilities, as well as the high number of their classmates who will have dropped out. In Colorado, the ratio of teacher salaries to average private-sector earnings is lower than in any other state. Since the passage of TABOR, the high school graduation rate has fallen 6 percent.

September 24: That’s the deadline for Wisconsin University students to pay their tuition without incurring a late fee. Thanks to reduced state aid on account of TABOR, that bill will increase steeply. In Colorado, tuition has shot through the roof. The state ranks 48th in the country in state funding for higher education per $1,000 of income.

May 1-8: That’s national “Cover The Uninsured Week.” The celebration will be larger than usual in Wisconsin, which will see a major increase in the rolls of the uninsured. TABOR has severely limited funding for health care in Colorado. The number of the state’s low-income children who lack health insurance has skyrocketed from 15 percent in 1992 to 27 percent in 2003, despite declines nationally.

The first Monday in September: That’s Labor Day. As a result of TABOR, fewer Wisconsonians will have to take a vacation on Labor Day — they won’t have jobs to begin with. Over a 44-month period ending in December 2004, Colorado hemorrhaged 68,000 jobs, a decline of 3.0 percent. In every other Mountain state — none of which has TABOR — the median job growth has been 4.5 percent during the same period.