It’s Never Been Done Like this in Colorado Before
In Colorado, it is said, voters are in the driver’s seat when it comes to taxes; under TABOR, all tax increases must be approved by the voters.
But are the voters really in control if they are rarely, if ever, given a choice on the state ballot? In the nearly 20 years since TABOR passed in 1992, there has been only one tax of general application (as opposed to a more narrow tax, like tobacco) has ever appeared on the state ballot. (For those keeping track, that was Amendment 51 in 2008, which would have increased the state sales tax to improve services for the developmentally disabled).
One reason that the voters haven’t been asked over the years whether, for instance, they would like to prevent education cuts, is because qualifying for the ballot is an expensive proposition. Gathering 100,000-plus signatures is not walk in the park (though it requires a lot of circulating in a lot of parks).
Voters should have a chance to prevent a fourth year of cuts to schools and colleges. That’s the motivation behind Senator Rollie Heath’s Bright Colorado initiative, which would restore state income and sales tax rates to their 1999 levels.