Colorado Fiscal Policy

I recall a column written by noted conservative George Will in a previous decade in which he argued that taxes were too low.  This was back at a time when fiscally prudent people believed that you should only spend money you have.  It wasn’t yet in vogue to believe that it is possible to borrow yourself to prosperity.


The thesis of Will’s column was that the services people demand from government – roads, infrastructure, schools, prisons, retirement security, etc. – exceeded what we were paying in taxes.  He went on to argue that taxes should be in alignment with the public demand for services.


We face that problem in Colorado.  Our state constitution is plagued by conflicting commandments.  On the one hand, we have provisions that place caps on revenues.  State and local governments are not permitted to collect more in the good years – even though the tax rate stays the same; in effect the tax rate is cut during good years.  There also are provisions that place caps on property taxes.


There is nothing inherently wrong with placing caps on revenues – except that the constitution also includes requirements to increase spending.  And, public demand for services exceeds what the government is allowed to collect.


This is not sustainable.  And, Colorado is suffering the consequences of declining infrastructure and investments in the future.


Carol Hedges of the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute gave a presentation to the school board  on June 25 on how we came to be in this situation.  I can’t begin to do justice to Carol’s presentation.  She is outstanding.  I can provide you links to two of her reports.


Looking Forward


Aiming for the Middle



4 Responses to “Colorado Fiscal Policy”

  1. Brad Jolly Says:

    John, the Looking Forward report is a joint project of the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, the Bell Policy Center, and the Colorado Children’s Campaign – three leftist organizations noted for their forced collectivism approach to problem solving. Similarly, the Aiming for the Middle report comes from the CFPI, which is a subsidiary of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, another liberal organization with a pro-government orientation.
    Correct me if I am wrong, but nowhere in either report is there any suggestion that government could or should become more efficient at delivering services, though government waste is simply ridiculous in scope. Nor is any thought presented as to the many problems associated with the massive transfer of wealth from the private sector that these groups advocate. The lefties would have us believe that government is actually capable of solving problems better than the private sector, when decades of experience proves government to inefficient at best and incompetent at worst.

  2. Brad Jolly Says:

    John, I am also a fan of George Will. Here are a couple of his columns apropos of the current public education discussion.

  3. Annette Says:

    Do we need to at times adjust our views?

  4. Brad Jolly Says:

    We do indeed need to adjust our views sometimes, Annette. I remember being a teenager and telling myself that I would NEVER a) vote against a school tax, or b) send my kids anywhere but public school. I maintained both positions well into my early 30’s. Needless to say, I did adjust my view on both issues over the years.

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