Flunking the Test

2005-10-13

The state of Colorado is asking for more money (technically, overriding the "Taxpayer's Bill of Rights" or TABOR, which specifies that state spending shall be limited to inflation plus population). Here's their argument (as presented in the voter blue book):

... the state experienced a recession during 2001 and the amount of money collected in 2002 was $7.8 billion, while inflation plus population growth would have allowed spending of $8.1 billion. The next year's limit grew from the $7.8 billion, not the $8.1 billion. This lowering of spending is known as the "ratchet-down" effect. The amount the state can spend under TABOR is now permanently below what it would be if no recession had occurred and spending had grown by inflation plus population each year.

Well, cry me a river. It turns out that the company I work for experienced a downturn right around the same time, about 40% of the employees were laid off, and the remaining employees took a pay cut to keep the company afloat (a much bigger pay cut than the state budget experienced, I might add). So my salary underwent that same "ratchet down" effect and the amount I'm paid is now permanently below what it would have been if no downturn had occurred. Yet if I presented the state's argument to my employer, they would (no doubt very nicely) tell me "tough luck". So I say tough luck to the state of Colorado. Spin off some marginal "product lines" (I can think of plenty) or tighten your belt a little further. Recessions happen, and you're going to have to deal with it rather than stamping your foot at economic reality. In other words, I'll be voting no on C and D, thank you very much.


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal