Sep 242002
Authors: Collegian Editorial Board

Let the blame begin.

Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and Colorado’s congressional Democrats have begun using Colorado’s economic problems as political fuel.

While this is to be expected from politicians, we think both parties need to worry more about how to fix problems rather than tag the blame on one another and, as the Denver Post reported, everyone is to blame for the economy.

The Post’s story noted that Owens signed some permanent tax cuts, which reduced the state income tax from 5 percent to 4.63 percent and the sales tax from 3 to 2.9 percent.

A nonpartisan legislative council said those permanent cuts reduced state revenues by $552 million during the 2001-02 fiscal year; the last year estimates are available.

TABOR, the taxpayer’s bill of rights, is also partially to blame. This citizen passed law says that all tax surplus must go back to citizens – via a refund – unless the state has direct permission from citizens – via an initiative – to use the money elsewhere. People had received refunds when the money could have gone to a rainy day – like today – surplus.

Amendment 23, which had bipartisan support, also helped. This mandates a steady increase in K-12 education funds for 10 years regardless of the shape of the rest of the budget. In fiscal year 2001, it took away $280 in income tax revenues.

Over spending in the 1990s is part of the reason we don’t have money now.

Also, some of recent budget problems came from circumstances we just really couldn’t prepare for. This year’s drought and fires kept tourists away, and also all the revenues they bring in away.

State lawmakers need to move on and fix this rather than blame the each other to win office. And we, as citizens need to think about what is causing us money and fix eliminate the laws that cause these problems – like Amendment 23 and TABOR.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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