Archive for the 'Proposition 103' Category

103 Got Crushed, We’re Waiting on 104

Posted by on Nov 15 2011 | education, Government Largess,, PPC, Proposition 103, Taxes

By now we’ve had some time to reflect on the beating the Prop 103 tax increase received from Colorado voters a couple weeks ago. It’s pretty amazing isn’t it? We were outspent around 6 to 1 but we managed to destroy the tax hike nearly 2 to 1. Granted, Prop 103 probably would have gone down even if we did nothing, but our side working well together ensured that the beating would resonate for a long time. Like I told Colorado Peak Politics, this tax hike unified us and instead of embarrassing ourselves like we normally do, we worked together to embarrass the enemies of limited government. It proved that we can work together for a common cause. Let Prop 103′s gross failure be our guiding light for the future.

Let’s talk about that future.

Senior Fellow Penn Pfiffner was a guest on the Tax Foundation’s podcast show the other day to talk about Prop 103′s failure and what we need to do to fortify our state against the barrage of calls for bigger and bigger government. Yes, it’s heartening to score such a resounding victory against big government, but it wasn’t the first proposed tax increase and it certainly won’t be the last. It’s a matter of time until we hear about the next government expansion “for the kids.” Likewise, it won’t be long until we hear the next round of sob stories that are designed to pry open our wallets. One victory will not shut down the Left’s super highway into our bank accounts. Penn knows this and does a good job of explaining that we must change our tactics if we are to ensure long-term success. As long as we continue to play only defense, it’s just a matter of time until they break off a big play and dance in our end zone. Even a good defense has holes and weaknesses. Stopping 99% of scoring drives means that 1% are getting through. Therefore, it doesn’t hurt to be on offense every now and again. As the old saying goes, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Just ask Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

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Shout Out from the Wall Street Journal!

Posted by on Nov 03 2011 | elections, Media, Politics, PPC, Proposition 103, Taxes

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.

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Prop 103 Debate on Public Radio

Posted by on Oct 27 2011 | Economy, education, Government Largess, PPC, Proposition 103, Taxes

There are few times when we at the Independence Institute agree with the Denver Post editorial board. When it happens, our first reaction is… “Check the calendar. Is it April fools?” As far as we can tell, it’s October, so the Denver Post must be completely serious when they wrote this editorial opposing Rollie Heath’s Proposition 103 tax hike. (Side note: I wonder if the Post editorial board is more disturbed by the fact that they agree with us or that they agree with Mike Rosen?)

You can imagine the predicament Rollie Heath finds himself in: he can’t even sell a tax increase (for the children) to the Post editorial board. He must know he has a loser on his hands. Thankfully however, Rollie can always find a friend in Colorado Public Radio. There’s no way CPR would give Rollie a tough appearance.  It would have to be all softballs and sunshine when a Boulder Democrat talks raising taxes on public radio right?

Rollie could not have been more wrong.

Rollie did get his appearance on Colorado Public Radio, just as you’d expect. But unexpectedly, CPR decided to invite our Penn Pfiffner on as the opposition. Sorry Rollie! Take a listen to this CPR audio of the two men debating Rollie’s massive tax increase: $3 billion over the next 5 years. Then after digesting Rollie’s justifications for raising taxes during a recession, take a look at these two research papers by the Independence Institute. The first explains what we all intuitively know: raising taxes kills jobs. Lots of them. Over 11,000 jobs lost in Colorado, that’s the real cost. The second is a quick Issue Backgrounder from Penn Pfiffner himself. It is Penn’s analysis of this huge tax increase.

The writing is on the wall for Proposition 103. Rollie Heath essentially failed to sell fresh chocolate chip cookies to a hungry Cookie Monster. Turns out, Cookie Monster couldn’t stomach what Rollie was selling in this economy. Who knew?

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We’re Talking Occupy Denver and Prop 103

Posted by on Oct 26 2011 | Government Largess, Idiot Box (TV Show), occupy denver, PPC, Proposition 103

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Prop 103: Kills Jobs, Has Little Effect on Education

Posted by on Oct 21 2011 | Economics, Economy, education, Government Largess, PPC, Proposition 103, Taxes

As you may have noticed, we at the Independence Institute don’t like tax increases of any kind. We especially don’t like them during rough economic times. (Side note: Have you heard the good news yet?! Colorado’s unemployment rate is DOWN to 8.3%! Hooray?) The evidence is pretty clear. If Proposition 103 passes and we get a massive tax for the next five years, all of our jobs will be in jeopardy. Just like these falling dominoes over here. Aside from just losing around 11,000 jobs if we tax ourselves into oblivion, there’s also the education side to the argument. Prop 103′s proponents say the tax hike is “for the kids.” (What tax hike isn’t really?) But nowhere does it say that the money raised from Prop 103 must go to education. Remember all that Ref C money and where it went? Yeah, me neither.

Thankfully, Charlie Leonard of the Aspen Times wrote on the education side of Prop 103. He cited two important points: one, that the money isn’t guaranteed to go to education to begin with. And secondly, even if all the money went to education, that doesn’t mean OUTCOMES – the stuff that matters – would improve. Charlie writes,

According to the nonpartisan Independence Institute, “Americans have increased spending on K-12 education by 50 percent over the past 30 years, and doubled spending over the past 40 years. Educational outcomes, as defined by test scores and international comparisons, have barely budged. Some school districts such as those in Washington, D.C., and New York City spend the highest amounts per pupil and have worse outcomes than Colorado’s test scores. The neighboring state of Utah spends $2,700 per pupil less than Colorado and enjoys better outcomes.”

And there you have folks. There is very little connection between money spent and educational outcomes. It’s not as if the more you spend, the more our kids learn. Not even close. So why tax ourselves into despair for the kids nothing?

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Prop 103: Colorado’s Job Killing Tax Increase

Posted by on Oct 20 2011 | Economic LIberties, Economics, Economy, Government Largess, PPC, Press, Proposition 103, Taxes

Yesterday the Independence Institute held a press conference here in Golden to illustrate the job destroying results if Proposition 103, Sen. Rollie Heath’s tax hike, passes this November. Like I say in the video below, we wondered, “how in the world can we show the domino effect of job loss if Prop 103 passes? People’s jobs will fall like dominoes! How do we show this???” Well, after much thought and some whiskey, we finally came up with the perfect illustration… LET’S KNOCK THOUSANDS OF DOMINOES DOWN! So I got on the phone and called up 5-time domino world record holder Robert Speca to see if he wanted to come to Colorado to knock some dominoes down. Thankfully, he said yes and within a day, he was out near our offices in Golden setting up thousands upon thousands of dominoes to represent all of the jobs that will be lost if Prop 103 passes.

Yesterday at 2pm, we held the press conference and I was the lucky guy who got to push the first domino over. It was REALLY fun! In total, Robert the “Domino Wizard” set up 5,500 dominoes, with each domino representing TWO jobs lost due to this tax increase. Take a look at the video below to see the job killing destruction Prop 103 will wreak on our economy. Prop 103: Colorado’s job killing tax increase:

Fox31′s political reporter Eli Stokels also covered our event. Here is the article and video they took. You’ll notice in the video that Eli Stokols makes a mistake. He says that only 1,100 jobs will be lost because of Prop 103. Oops. It’s actually 11,000. Eleven thousand. Big difference.

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Prop 103 Roundup

Posted by on Oct 13 2011 | Economy, PPC, Proposition 103

The Independence Institute’s dynamic scoring study on the impact of the upcoming sales and income tax increase ballot initiative, Proposition 103, on jobs and the economy in Colorado has been published and cited in both print and television news. Here is a round-up thus far.

The study has been cited in newspaper editorials in opposition to Prop 103 by both the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Pueblo Chieftain.

The study has also been cited in television news coverage of Prop 103 here by CBS4, and here by 9News.

Opinion pieces excerpted from the study have appeared here in the Denver Business Journal, here in the Summit Daily newspaper, and here in the Salida Mountain Mail newspaper.

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Gazette Rips Into Prop 103

Posted by on Oct 07 2011 | PPC, Proposition 103

The Colorado Springs Gazette’s editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen rips into the Proposition 103 sales and income tax increase ballot initiative, citing the Independence Institute’s recent study on the impact of Prop 103 on jobs and the Colorado economy.

Concludes Wayne:

A vote for Prop 103 is a vote to make Colorado’s economy even weaker. It is a vote to worsen the state budget, which relies on a strong economy to fund government education, transportation and other important needs. Imposing new costs on a struggling economy is no different than imposing new costs on a household that’s struggling to get by on fixed or dwindling income. It just will not work.

Read the whole thing here.

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Independence Institute Writers In The News

Posted by on Oct 03 2011 | Economy, energy, PPC, Proposition 103

Independence Institute writers appeared in the opinion pages of Colorado’s two largest newspapers this weekend.

In the Denver Post, Brian Schwartz makes the case, as part of a pro/con series, against the Proposition 103 sales and income tax increase ballot initiative.

Brian’s piece is here. Colorado State Senator Rollie Heath’s accompanying piece in favor of Prop 103 is here.

In the Colorado Springs Gazette, Amy Oliver Cooke and Michael Sandoval burst the green jobs bubble, explaining how Colorado’s “New Energy Economy” has failed to become the jobs engine promised by its proponents.

You can also check out a longer version of Amy and Michael’s green jobs take-down over at

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