[PUBLISHED in the Boulder Daily Camera, 7/6/06
re "Colorado Constitution in need of weight watching" (Adrian Miller, Boulder Daily Camera, 7/2/06)
To the Editors:
If Adrian Miller is trying to convince us that we should make it more difficult to amend the Colorado Constitution, he certainly picked a horrible example when claiming TABOR as a reason to limit democracy.
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights represents everything that is good about the amendment process. It was the best and strongest way to keep money-grubbing big-spending politicians from digging even deeper into our pockets so they didn’t have to make the same sorts of hard decisions we all have to make in our daily lives. Colorado’s TABOR is still a model for other states looking to instill some fiscal discipline.
Then, by calling Referendum C a “time out”, which even its supporters knew was an outright lie (since it raises taxes permanently), Mr. Miller makes his motives perfectly clear: He is opposed to the citizens’ access to any tools which might restrain the growth of government.
Indeed, as Mr. Miller points out, the success rate for ballot constitutional amendments is barely more than 1/3. So what is his motive in trying to make them even more difficult to get on to the ballot? Most likely, it is because he fears a backlash to Referendum C when the broader public learns that it is going to cost at least 30% more than they told us. The newest estimate is for a cost of nearly $4.9 billion after Ref C supporters quoted us $3.7 billion. That difference is almost $300 per Coloradoan or over $1100 per family of 4, money I’m sure we’d like to keep to pay our fuel bills.
Mr. Miller’s views are typical of liberal elites: the public is too stupid to be in charge of how to spend their own money, so we must make democracy more difficult. While I am not surprised that a director at a left-wing think tank would have such views, we must not let people like him take away what liberty (and after-tax income) we have left.
I have some sympathy for the idea of keeping our Constitution streamlined, and using amendments for only the most important issues, so I’ll tell you what, Mr. Miller: I’ll agree to a supermajority to change the state Constitution if you agree to a legislative supermajority to raise any tax or government fee (but a simple majority to lower them.) Let’s see if your priorities really are good government, or just big government.
Ross G. Kaminsky is a Regional Coordinator for the Colorado Club for Growth.