In their attempt to prevent the passage of the proposed “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” (TABOR) in Maine, opponents have claimed that the provision has “decimated” and “de-funded” schools and public colleges in Colorado, a state which has had TABOR on the books since 1992. Education has been a central focus in the opponents’ campaign to prevent people from voting YES on Question 4 on the November 3rd ballot in Maine. If passed, TABOR would limit the growth of annual expenditures from Maine’s General Fund, the Highway Fund, and other special revenue funds to the rate of population growth plus inflation.
It’s time to set the record straight on TABOR and education in order to move forward in Maine. A new report released by The Maine Heritage Policy Center essentially debunks all claims that TABOR hurts public education in Colorado..
Firstly, average scores on the SATs for 2005 college bound seniors on verbal and math portions were almost identical in both states. Additionally, higher education is actually more affordable in Colorado than it is in Maine. The report shows that the average annual costs minus average financial aid for a 2-year public college in Maine are 55 percent higher than in Colorado and 4 year colleges are 38 percent higher in Maine.  
In addition, the report shows that Colorado outperforms Maine students by a wide margin on Advanced Placement tests, pays its teachers better, and has not seen education spending plummet, as opponents have so often claimed.
Overall, outcomes in Colorado are as good or better than in Maine, despite the fact Colorado has had TABOR on the books since 1992.
Click here to view ATR’s press release.
Photo Credit: Henrick Strandskov