Tax Hikes Part II

Referendum C was supposed to be the net tax hike to solve all our problems. Now, even though Referendum C pulled in dramatically more tax money than expected, Colorado’s Democrats are proposing a new round of spending hikes.

In a June 24 e-mail (delivered early June 25), State House Speaker Andrew Romanoff announced, “A new initiative will give us a chance to fix the fiscal mess in Colorado’s constitution. The proposal is called SAFE: Savings Account For Education.”

The older SAFE stood for Sane Alternatives to the Firearms Epidemic. Call this one Statist Alternatives to the Freedom Epidemic. (I think somebody used the same acronym against the older SAFE, but I don’t recall who.)

Or call it “Referendum C, Part II.” Supporters of the new measure, “backed by a bipartisan coalition of business, education and civic leaders,” are using the same game plan.

Romanoff writes:

Colorado’s constitution contains conflicting commandments: one provision reduces revenue, while another increases spending. The net effect: chronic shortfalls in health care, higher education and other “optional” programs.

Referendum C brought us some relief: a five-year time-out from the revenue limit and a permanent fix to its ratchet effect. Hundreds of thousands of Coloradans are better off as a result, including 700 individuals with autism, Down syndrome, and other developmental disabilities, who will no longer be stuck on decade-long waiting lists for vital services; 25,000 at-risk children, who will be able to attend high-quality preschool and full-day kindergarten; and 50,000 uninsured children, who will receive medical coverage. (Click here for an annual report on Referendum C.)

Unfortunately, Referendum C’s time-out expires in 2010 -– jeopardizing much of our progress.

The obvious solution is to simply repeal the provision that increases spending. Cynics observe that Democrats supported that spending-hike measure precisely to undermine the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

Romanoff fails to mention a detail about Referendum C: it permanently increased state spending. It was not merely a limited “time-out;” it increased the base level of spending forever. But that forever net tax increase is not good enough for the left; no spending hike is ever good enough. They want to seize even more of our money by force.

The entire point of Romanoff’s proposal is to forcibly redistribute even more wealth. He wants more welfare for health care, more welfare for education, more welfare for practically anybody who claims to need it. (By dedicating new funds for education, legislators can use other funds for whatever they please.) The cost is liberty. The result is that Coloradans who earn that money and who oppose the tax have no say in how their money is spent. That’s wrong.

People have the right to spend their income how they see fit, whether it’s on their own children’s health costs or education, a down payment on a house, a retirement fund, or a charity of their choice.

Romanoff repeats the same misleading claim he used for Referendum C: “SAFE does NOT raise tax rates or touch the constitutional right to vote on taxes.” While it’s true that it doesn’t raise the rates, it certainly raises the net amount of taxes that people pay.

There is one difference this year. While Referendum C passed in rolling economic times, this year people are feeling the pinch of high gas and energy prices (thanks to the stifling controls on energy production imposed by Romanoff’s comrades), along with housing problems. However, so long as a large body of people buy into Romanoff’s redistributionist ethos, the tax hikers will be back again, and again, and again.