On Nov. 1, Colorado voters spoke: No more TABOR.
Coloradans passed Referendum C, suspending TABOR (Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights). TABOR is a hodgepodge of “anti-tax” initiatives that have impaired Colorado’s ability to set priorities and respond to crises. Since TABOR’s passage in 1992, Colorado’s public services have severely suffered. A sampling:
The percentage of Coloradoans with no health insurance rose from 12.7 percent in 1992 to 15.6 percent in 2001.
K-12 education spending per student fell by more than $300 compared to the national average from 1992 to 2000.
In-state tuition at colleges and universities increased 21 percent over the last four years.
The progressive victory in Colorado unhinged its right-wing opponents. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax reform, attacked Referendum C supporter Gov. Bill Owens (R):
Young Republican children years from now will be scared in campground campfires by stories about Bill Owens — the tax-cutting Republican who magically turned into a tax-increase bad guy…and they will not be able to sleep all night.
Douglas Bruce, the author of the 1992 TABOR amendment, also responded maturely:
[Colorado voters] have to accept the consequences of voting themselves back into slavery.
Clearly, the right isn’t used to losing. But they had better get used to it.