Reasonable folks long have fretted about the Colorado Constitution’s conflicting fiscal requirements, but would such a plan supply the necessary fix? The story doesn’t indicate that it addresses troublesome property-tax provisions.
More to the point, could the Romanoff plan fly this year? The 2008 session is rapidly approaching its mandatory adjournment date, and Romanoff also would need some Republican votes to gain the two-thirds majorities necessary to send the plan to the voters. And, according to the story this morning, Gov. Bill Ritter is non-committal about the idea.
Well, today comes news from the Denver Post that shows Todd’s doubts were well-placed:
The pact should have gone something like this: Republicans agree to let government keep more tax dollars by relaxing portions of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, known as TABOR, that limit revenue growth. Democrats give up state-mandated increases in education funding, also known as Amendment 23.
The proposal would free up more funds for higher education, transportation and other needs, but a Democratic add-on to an unrelated bill left Republican leaders saying the deal was off.
That addition to the annual school finance bill would reinstate the promise to increase education funding by at least 5 percent each year.
The Republican statehouse leaders aren’t buying what Romanoff is selling, and who can blame them? Democrats are left in charge of a state law that provides even more funding increases to education interest groups, while taxpayers are left out in the cold.
This is not the prescription for fiscal responsibility that it was marketed to be. It’s a one-sided push falsely billed as a “compromise.”
Lawmakers and other officials can only get away with this sort of nonsense by using children as a political stage prop. If the point of contention for funding mandates was roads, hospitals, prisons, or courtrooms, this wouldn’t be an issue.
But the professional public education lobby gladly will peel the lid off state spending restraints in the name of “the children.” It’s hard to believe there isn’t a way to balance the budget, protect the taxpayer, AND serve students and families.
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