The Future of TABOR

November 1, 2005

Today, voters in Colorado will decide the future of their state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights -more commonly known as TABOR. Since Colorado voters approved the measure in 1992, both sides of the current debate agree that it has been effective in limiting the growth of government. Opponents of Colorado’s TABOR suggest that it has gone too far and now threatens the future of some programs. TABOR supporters argue that removing the TABOR would be economically damaging by massively increasing taxes and would reward fiscally irresponsible behavior. (You can read current studies here and here)

NBC 9 News in Denver gives an excellent description of ballot initiative C, which would suspend current TABOR protections.

“Referendum C would allow the state to keep all the money it collects for the next five years to spend on health care, public education and transportation projects. A yes vote would eliminate the TABOR refunds that taxpayers receive when the state collects more than it is allowed to spend. The new arrangement would last five years before returning to the refund arrangement under TABOR thereafter.

Referendum C would also take the highest amount of money collected by the state in any year during the next five and calculate state spending from that amount for all future years and allow that amount to increase annually by inflation plus population growth.”

Political analysts say the outcome of the vote is “too close to call”. However, American taxpayers will be closely watching to see if the most effective restraint on government growth will survive this well-financed challenge.


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