How Colorado Got Its Government BackI guess Atlas is happier not shrugging...
In 1992, to the unmitigated glee of antitax types everywhere, Colorado voters amended the State Constitution to impose the nation's strictest tax and spending limits. On Tuesday, they decided that government was worth paying for after all. By 52 percent to 48 percent, they voted to suspend the fiscal limits for the next five years and told the state to keep $3.7 billion that would have otherwise been refunded to taxpayers.
The vote clearly has to do with the pain of a permanently underfinanced government. Middle-class and low-income residents were getting burned by ever deepening spending cuts in education, health care and transportation.
Colorado has the ninth-highest per capita personal income in the nation, and only Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts have larger proportions of college graduates. Yet over the past decade or so, Colorado has dropped to near the bottom among the states in funds for basic public services. Last November, Republicans lost control of both chambers of the Legislature for the first time since 1960, and Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican, then shocked his base by supporting the suspension of the budget restrictions.
Voters and legislators in nearly half the states are currently considering tax and spending limits, some of them quite severe, like Proposition 76 in California. Coloradans, who have the most experience with extreme budget constraints, have said "time out" and telegraphed their displeasure to elected officials. Taxpayers and politicians, including those in Washington, should take heed. This vote was a thumbs down on "starving the beast" - the Republican strategy of excessive tax cuts to force government to shrink.
Starving the beast that feeds you
Some of you know that I'm not a fan of small government and the whole ideology behind it. I would be very happy if Grover Norquist lost any support at all for his political activities too. In today's New York Times appears the following editorial: