Get used to the national attention my fellow Coloradans! It won’t be going away until after next November’s elections. For example, President Obama has “dropped by” what, a half dozen times already? He’s here so frequently I figure I’d ask him to do something useful the next time. Like water my plants or something.
We’ve got to face the facts. All eyes are on our tiny little state and its 9 electoral votes. Even the Wall Street Journal couldn’t help but notice when we voters demonstrated our intolerance for higher taxes in this past Tuesday’s “killing fields.” Check out what the Journal said about us in this house editorial:
You probably won’t be reading much about it, and don’t look for the results to get a lot of airtime on CNN or MSNBC, but Colorado held a referendum on taxes on Tuesday. The tax increasers got blown away. By a nearly 2 to 1 margin, voters rejected a $2.9 billion income and sales tax increase ostensibly earmarked for education. Proposition 103 would have raised the income tax rate to 5% from 4.63% and the sales tax to 3% from 2.9%. Supporters claimed the tax would merely have been “temporary” and was needed to make up for recent cuts in state spending for K-12 and college education.
Both are familiar ploys to sell tax hikes that fund higher spending and typically become permanent.The education gambit was a sneaky attempt to undermine the state’s landmark and popular Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which was approved by voters in the 1990s and has slowed the growth of government. Tabor, as it is known, caps the state budget to the growth of population and inflation each year while rebating revenues above that limit to taxpayers. The union scheme was to erode the spending caps by exempting education spending and earmarking new tax revenues to schools, which already command 40% of the state’s general fund budget.
The Independence Institute, a free-market think tank, warned Coloradans that exempting education from the spending cap is what undermined California’s Gann Amendment budget ceilings in the 1980s. California’s spending and tax burden exploded in the aftermath, leading to its current fiscal and economic laments.
Colorado’s antitax mood was equally clear at the local level. The Denver Post reports that “Aurora voters rejected a $114 million tax increase for recreation centers, Douglas County voters said ‘no’ to school tax increases, and Cañon City voters rejected a tax for library improvements.” The paper called the overall results “a killing field for tax measures.”
It’s not everyday the Journal writes about you in the house editorial. I imagine as November 2012 inches closer, we’ll see more and more coverage of what’s going on here. So my advice to my readers is simple: be on your best behavior. Don’t let the Journal or say, Time Magazine catch you picking your nose or peeing in public. That could be embarrassing.
Speaking of… I’d like to remind the national media outlets that nothing, absolutely nothing of importance happens anywhere in or around Shotgun Willies. Don’t even bother going near it.