Far from Starving, ATR Report Shows Spending Increasing Even Under TABOR

Washington, DC—Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), the nation’s leading taxpayer advocacy organization released a report this week on Colorado’s government spending increases under their Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). The report refutes claims that the government is “crippled” and that TABOR has had a negative impact on economic growth in the state.

In light of Referenda C, a tax increase that would allow the government to keep revenue in excess of TABOR limits for five years, and Referenda D, which would allow the government to borrow an additional $2.1 billion, ATR’s report offers facts to dispute proponents of these ballot measures. Due to strong population growth, total spending in Colorado was the third highest in the nation from 1997-2002. The only two states with higher spending increases were Gov. Howard Dean’s Vermont and Gov. Gray Davis’s California.

“While C and D proponents claim that Colorado’s government is “crippled” under TABOR, the state’s population growth has allowed spending to increase even with restraints,” said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Without these restraints, Colorado taxpayers would have been soaked with double digit spending increases each and every year.”

If Referenda C and D were to pass, the state would face double digit spending increases, lower economic growth, and the average Colorado residents would need to work an additional 11 days more over 5 years just to pay the cost of increased spending. TABOR has saved the growing state of Colorado from reckless spending increases and sub-par economic growth.

“The conclusion of our report is that without TABOR protections, states with increasing population growth like Colorado will experience skyrocketing government spending,” continued Norquist. “The idea of a state with booming population growth lacking TABOR restraints is scary enough to stay inside and turn off the porch light.”

The ATR report may be found on: http://www.atr.org/content/pdf/2005/oct/103105pr-co_study.pdf