Diary

They Call It “De-Brucing” (TABOR)

Colorado’s constitutional amendment dubbed the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, has made it difficult for politicians to tax and spend like they want.

So politicians engage in all sorts of weird strategems.

Take “de-Brucing.” TABOR’s author is Doug Bruce. TABOR allows voters to make exceptions to the law’s basic limits on spending increases and taxes. So all but four of Colorado’s 178 school districts have voted to “de-Bruce” — that is, to allow more spending, more taxes, than TABOR’s formula would otherwise allow.

In this context, Gov. Bill Ritter worked hard promoting a 2007 law to freeze tax rates. This freeze was designed not to limit increasing tax revenues, but to shore up the pre-TABOR rate of increase. It passed.

What the freeze did was de-Bruce the whole state, even those four school districts that had repeatedly and enthusiastically upheld tax rate reductions created by TABOR.

And now the state supreme court has decided that Ritter’s legal maneuver is just hunky dory.

In Colorado, voters engage in lawful constitutional revisions, and politicians react with obvious unconstitutional law . . . and are backed up by the highest court. So much for constitutionality.

If I lived in Colorado, I’d be voting not to “de-Bruce,” but to “de-Ritter” . . . and be thinking about term limits for judges.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.