Taxpayer Bill of Rights. TABOR. A legislative victory for the libertarian state of Colorado. But perhaps one of the most hated bills by progressives throughout the country.
A doctrine as simple as it is powerful: Taxation will be decided by the people. The idea that if the government wants to raise taxes it needs the consent of the governed. If the government wishes to spend more on congressional salaries, it needs to find it in the budget or it needs to increase taxes, but with consent by the people. If the state decides it needs more funding for the school system, the voters will decide to appropriate said funds.
This doctrine, which has been amended to the state constitution of Colorado, has found itself at the forefront of attacks by progressives. I found myself discussing TABOR with my English teacher (which should have been my first red flag), grinding my teeth through her explanation of TABOR, aided by the presentation of a nine-minute clip from the Full Frontal with Samantha Bee show. My teacher stated she was just trying to be informative. Of course! She left me with this: “TABOR is why we can’t have nice things.”
This left me wondering why progressives hate this doctrine. As my teacher and Samantha Bee explained, TABOR is bad because no taxpayer will ever choose to raise their own taxes. But the thing is they do. Not all the time. Not even half of the time. But they choose to raise taxes when they see the need to. But if giving voters a choice in what they will and will not pay for is the objection, then progressives have a bit of a problem down the line: They have to persuade voters that voters should take away liberties from voters.
Progressives see liberties such as this as an obstacle to overspending taxpayer money. They see the government as integral to economic progress.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Colorado enjoys a 3 percent unemployment rate, which is almost a full percentage point lower than the national average. Further, Business Insider ranked Colorado the fifth-best economy in terms of growth, unemployment, wages, and real estate. Colorado is attractive to many different businesses and draws large amounts of investment. Wages are high and the real estate market booming. But progressives are an existential threat to the progress we see in Colorado today. They wish to enact broad, far-reaching and expensive policies that will hurt the economy and the average citizen. Gov. Jared Polis has plans that may greatly limit the natural gas industry and wants to enact broad health care initiatives similar to the legislation now seen along the West Coast from Los Angeles to Seattle.
In 2019, the Democrat-controlled state legislature will work on passing public health care for Coloradans. They may be successful in striking blows to the economy by regulating to death natural gas and fracking, but will fail to find the money for their social policies. Working within the budget will be all they can do. TABOR will protect the citizen from the government in a time when far-left radicals control the government. The progressives who so dearly cling to spending will learn what it means to have a finite resource, and will accordingly be forced to face the reality of not having enough capital to fund bad policies.
Coloradans of the past saw fit to enshrine a most basic liberty for Coloradans in the future. Without TABOR we would be facing the possibility of turning into San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Seattle. The progressive agenda has failed those cities and run them into the ground. Colorado and Denver specifically will be safeguarded for the time being.
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