Irresponsibility ought not to be rewarded with privilege. Neither should incompetence be granted a blank check. Colorado Democrats want both.
In John Frank’s well-researched article, “The Democratic agenda came with a big price tag,” he reveals the fears now realized by the Democrat legislators who passed this ill-advised agenda half-a-year ago.
Now, in whispers and public admissions, these same Democrats express what Rep. Daneya Esgar told Frank: “I don’t think we completely all truly understand what we have obligated ourselves to.”
But while the Democrats may not understand, the Republicans do. Our legislators warned the majority on the other side of the aisle that they were spending more than they had.
Republicans spent hours advising their colleagues that Colorado citizens would not welcome government intervention in the form of overspending and overcommitting. Because, in the end, it’s not the government’s dollar at stake: it is the people’s.
Colorado has experienced enviable economic success for years. But the root cause of this success is a little thing called TABOR: the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Unlike many other states, our citizens voted to cap our government’s ability to spend.
There is a limit on how much money government can take from us. In Colorado, our legislators and our governor are not allowed to behave like hungry wolves, salivating at the smell of the copper pennies in our pockets.
We expect them to spend wisely; to refrain from committing money they do not have; to cut spending appropriately; to strategically dedicate money where it is most needed — not where lobbyists and special interest groups compel.
Coloradans are now beginning to wake up and smell the roses — or, rather, the refuse. The Democrat majority did not meet our expectations. They did not keep their hunger for spending in line with the requirements of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
They, once again, decided they know better than the taxpayers. Despite the record number of citizens who showed up to the Capitol to testify last spring, the Democrats demonstrated a unique disregard for the rights of the people and an irreverence for their hard work.
This disregard has been a hallmark of the Polis administration and Democrat rule. When Polis campaigned for the state’s top spot, some accused him of behaving like a king. These accusations are proving true as power appears to plug his ears to the words of the people.
The disregard has also extended to deception. It is these same Democrats who put Proposition CC on the November 2019 ballot to dismantle the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
Not only does TABOR put a cap on government spending, but it also states that the people of Colorado have a right to a refund when state revenue exceeds the state’s ability to spend.
It is based on the timeless principle that people know their needs better than government. People can provide for their families better than a governor. People can budget their money better than a legislature.
Prop CC would steal the refund away from Coloradans — not just temporarily, but permanently. The ballot wording indicates that the money would be spent on public schools, higher education, and transportation, but this is precisely where the Democrats’ deception lies. Who among us does not care about our children’s education? Who does not want good roads and less traffic? We all do.
But, these claims amount to little more than buying votes. KC Becker, the Speaker of the House, admitted in a committee hearing that any future legislature could change how the Prop CC money is spent. It will be solely up to the rulers of the Colorado legislature to determine how they take and spend the people’s — your — refund.
They are claiming right now that the extra money will go to causes we all believe in. But it’s a ploy to persuade compassionate citizens to hand over a blank check that the Democrats can spend at will like they’re buying toys off an indiscriminate Christmas list.
Just as John Frank’s article details, these same Democrats who are asking for our hard-earned money just blew through $32 billion in a single legislative session. Millions in costs are about to come due, and the Democrats don’t have the money to fund their wayward spending.
As Frank wrote, “Other legislation that won approval this year in the Democratic-majority House and Senate often masked the true cost to the state. To make their bills more attractive, lawmakers kept spending in the first year low and often pushed the cost into future years.”
Colorado voters have a chance to shut down this deceptive method of governing by voting No on Prop CC and preserving our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
Together, we must tell King Polis and his Democrat rulers to clean up their own mess and stop spending money they don’t have.
Kristi Burton Brown is Vice Chairman of the Colorado State Republican Party