Opinion | Mike Littwin: Hick boldly goes to court, aiming to take a rake to the fiscal thicket
Fair and unbalanced
First, the bad news. Whatever you’ve heard, John Hickenlooper’s bold move to loosen the stranglehold that TABOR and Gallagher have on Colorado’s funding will almost certainly not eliminate the stranglehold.
With luck — with maybe a lot of luck — it could give struggling fire districts and library districts, particularly those in rural areas of the state, a bit of breathing room and a bit more money, both of which many districts desperately need.
If Hickenlooper’s direct appeal to the state Supreme Court works — and, at this point, no one has any idea — it could conceivably provide some small momentum toward post-TABOR fiscal sanity in Colorado, not that I’d bet much on that outcome.
You may remember the fiscal thicket that a long-ago, freshly minted Gov. Hickenlooper set out to resolve. Well, as we know, the thicket has grown only thicker over Hick’s tenure, which isn’t exactly the legacy he was hoping for.
As one person involved in the process, going for a different metaphor, told me, “This is not a silver bullet that, as some are saying, Hickenlooper has been holding onto for eight years. Even with victory, however you define that, it wouldn’t come close to solving the larger problem.”
So, what exactly has Hickenlooper done with this move in the waning days of his administration, a time in which boldness perhaps comes more easily? (Libertarian Jon Caldara was quoted on 9News as saying that this was an outrageous move by Hick to appeal to progressives in his potential run for president, which could make sense if anyone outside of Colorado had ever heard of TABOR — they haven’t — or if Hick’s path to the nomination meant going even half-Bernie — it doesn’t.)
But it turns out there is a strange bit of business in Colorado’s Constitution — rare among the states and rarely used, in any case — allowing the governor to submit questions, called “interrogatories,” directly to the state’s Supreme Court in order to settle conflicts in constitutional law.
To read the full column, go to ColoradoIndependent.com.
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