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PSN on April 6, 2006 - 11:48am
In states across the country, the far-right is pushing "TABOR" measures based on Colorado's now infamous spending cap. The Colorado model that capped spending increases at a rate equal to population growth plus inflation and that ratcheted down spending in recession years, is now being largely eschewed by the right following voter rescindment of the awful legislation in Colorado.
But multiple states will still see initiatives that cap growth in government spending using the same population growth plus inflation formula that has failed before. But voters in Maine are likely to have a bit more time before considering this radical attempt to stealthily slash government thanks to a court ruling that TABOR advocates failed to gather enough signatures by the state-mandated deadline.
While the proponents of the Constitutional Amendment are appealing, arguing that a broad reading of law that "protects" voters includes counting signatures that don't meet legal requirements, opponents of the measure are making it clear that they intend to fully educate the public in Maine about the dangers of TABOR.
TABOR's history in Colorado is awful. As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities made clear, TABOR resulted in devastating budgets for K-12 Education, Higher Education, Public Health, Insurance, and infrastructure. The end result? A budget system so awful that "[a] wide range of Coloradoans -- business leaders, higher education officials, childrenï¿½s advocates, legislators of both parties, and Governor Bill Owens (R), among others" -- came together to demand change to the system.