Tabor requires baseline shift |

Tabor requires baseline shift

The Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) passed by voters in 1992, up until now, had been a good thing for taxpayers. Best of all, it mandated that voters had to approve all tax increases.

Through the boom years, TABOR limited the growth of government to the rate of inflation plus growth. Nobody much complained, although many warned that should there be a downturn, TABOR would hurt.

That’s because TABOR also uses annual revenues as a baseline for the next year. When the baseline goes down, as it has in Colorado the last two years, it can’t bounce back to where it was before the free-fall.

That aspect of TABOR is killing the state at the moment. We particularly fear for the damage being done to our higher education system.

As we reported Thursday, TABOR reform will be at the top of the legislative agenda when the General Assembly convenes next week. The arch conservatives, who acknowledge the gutting of government is a good thing, will not want it changed one iota.

There appears to be some air of reasonable compromise. We would hope that would keep the bond with voters that new taxes be approved, and that growth, plus inflation, always be a limiting factor. Allowing the baseline to jump to where it was, if the revenues are there, also is a good idea.

We also would consider a rainy day fund where excess revenues could be saved in the good years. If the state had had one last session, it would not have had to gut various trust funds, which still need to be repaid.

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