My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Of Blind Squirrels and Vindication 

You know a tax increase was a bad thing when even the Denver Post's Diane Carman recognizes that there's problems.

As this blog pointed out on a couple different occassions before that fateful election (here and here), Referendum C was a boondoggle waiting to happen. It didn't really matter that a Republican Governor was one of its major supporters--it was always a bad idea, and, in fact, it's probably part of the reason we don't now have a Republican governor, as Bob Beauprez's lukewarm support of the measure both angered his base and made him look weak to independents.

But that aside, it's now becoming obvious--even to liberals like Carman--that C doesn't quite deliver what it promised to deliver.

When the campaign for Referendums C and D barnstormed the state in 2005, the overriding message was that the money generated would be spent on health care, K-12 education and higher education, with 10 percent set aside for transportation projects to be financed under Referendum D.

It seemed so straightforward.

That should have been our first clue.

Um . . .yeah. I suppose when the entire political and media establish all line up behind an idea, somebody should be doing a wallet check.

No one anticipated the state economy rebounding as exuberantly as it has.

In point of fact, a few of us noticed the recovery which was already taking place months BEFORE Ref C & D. But, for some reason, that factoid never quite made it into the discourse.
Early estimates of Referendum C revenue over the five years it would be in effect were $3.2 billion. Just before the 2005 election, the figure was $3.7 billion. Now it's $5.9 billion.

If revenues had been lower - as forecast - and didn't bump the general fund over the 6 percent limit, Bird-Arveschoug would still be an obscure quirk in the constitution, and the distribution formula for Referendum C cash wouldn't be so acrimonious.

As it is, the capital construction budget stands to gain a whopping $1.7 billion windfall.

"We didn't realize that the economy would recover so much and that the limit would be pierced so quickly,"

Yes, B-A is an obscure quirk, but one with unintentional and ironically hilarious side effects.

It turns out that the economic Chicken Littles were SO wrong that they ended up being right.

Instead of a $3.2 billion solution to a $1 billion problem, we ended up with a $5.9 billion solution that's actually only a $4.2 billion solution.

But still, it's not enough for liberals, as Governor Ritter has found a way to take another $1.7 billion out of your pockets through a property tax maneuver, and this legislature has created a whole new department to enforce all the new fees they're going to assess you over the next several years.

I wonder how long it will take Carman to notice THAT boondoggle.


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