Thursday, March 17, 2005

 

TABOR in Colorado - Bad for business

In our earier post, we mentioned some of the problems in Colorado with the misnamed Taxpayers Bill Of Rights amendment. That post focused on problems it created with education and health care.

Here is how a columnist in the Denver Business Journal describes some of its effects on the economics, jobs and business climate:
In 2002, we had the third-worst budget gap in the nation. In the third quarter of last year, Coloradans' incomes grew slower than any other state, except one, and we ranked 45th in the nation in personal-income growth (we ranked first during the 1990s). In the last two years, the state has lost some 76,300 jobs, essentially doubling our unemployment rate.

[. . . ]

Another recent report by the nonpartisan legislative staff concludes that in coming years, spending levels will be insufficient to cover rising school enrollments, prison populations, health care costs and other changes, resulting in continued erosion of public services.

But TABOR will not let up, forcing an additional $1.2 billion out of state coffers between now and 2009. In real terms - dollars adjusted for inflation - this means that per-capita spending on services will be at least 10 percent lower in 2009 than it was in 2002. To add insult to injury, these stringent spending limits leave the state no room to build a "rainy day" fund.
Why is the writer concerned about the erosion of public services? Is he a shill for the public employee labor unions? No. He says that the TABOR has been bad for attracting new business:
The bulk of research shows the level of public services is the key determinant in business location decisions. For those who already call Colorado home, TABOR means we can't repair our roads and bridges, afford to invest in a public system of colleges and universities, fully fund local schools or provide adequate public health care services. And businesses pay the price.

[. . . ]

[U]nless we amend TABOR, we will succeed only in putting a Band-Aid across the increasingly widening gap between reasonable resources and what we need to keep Colorado a terrific place to live. And that's just plain bad business.

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