Fiscal Rules Campaign Launches on 30th Anniversary of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights
New ALEC Microsite, Report and Video Showcase the Gold Standard for State Tax and Spending Control
Arlington, Va. (Nov. 3, 2022) – In celebration of thirty years of the Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), which was approved by voters on November 3, 1992, ALEC today launched its Fiscal Rules campaign, featuring the interactive Fiscal Rules microsite, new Fiscal Rules animated video, and new report, TABOR Turns 30: Thirty Years of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
The report, authored by Dr. Barry Poulson, Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado Boulder and ALEC Policy Advisor, explains what other states can learn from TABOR and why it is considered the gold standard for state tax and spending control.
Since its adoption, TABOR refunds to Colorado taxpayers have totaled $8.2 billion. This year, the Colorado General Assembly announced a taxpayer rebate of $3.6 billion in surplus revenue. These rebates are mandated by TABOR, a fiscal rule that limits the growth of revenue and spending at all levels of government and requires that surplus revenue be rebated to taxpayers.
“TABOR is a resounding success for Colorado, despite ongoing attempts by to eliminate it,” said ALEC Policy Advisor and report author Dr. Barry Poulson. “TABOR uses a straightforward formula for limiting the size and scope of government by capping the rate of growth in state revenue and spending to inflation plus the rate of population growth.”
Under TABOR, if the state or a local government wishes to increase revenues and spending, it requires the support of a majority of voters. At the time of its approval, many critics condemned TABOR, claiming it would cause businesses to flee the state and the economy to collapse. However, between 1997 and 2007, Colorado was one of the most competitive and fastest-growing economies in the nation, as documented in the annual ALEC publication, Rich States, Poor States.
“Simply put, TABOR puts taxpayers in the driver’s seat,” explained Jonathan Williams, ALEC Chief Economist and Executive Vice President of Policy. “Despite the unrelenting political attacks from proponents of bigger government, as well as appalling judicial activism from Colorado courts, TABOR continues to withstand the test of time, providing important protections for hardworking Colorado taxpayers.”
“Taxpayers benefit tremendously from fiscal rules like TABOR that put the brakes on excessive taxation and government spending,” added ALEC Vice President of Policy Lee Schalk. “States succeed when government is held accountable and when taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned money.”
“TABOR has protected Colorado from becoming the next California, Illinois, or New York, where businesses are fleeing,” said Lisa B. Nelson, ALEC CEO. “The attacks on TABOR from big government advocates remind us that TABOR works.”
Over the past two decades, most states have experienced debt fatigue, with state spending and debt growing more rapidly than personal income. The Fiscal Rules microsite provides state legislators with guidance in designing new fiscal rules to effectively constrain state spending and debt. FiscalRules.org is a project of the ALEC Center for State Fiscal Reform, Dr. Barry Poulson, and Dr. John Merrifield, who served as a faculty member at the University of Texas at San Antonio for 32 years.
The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit: www.alec.org.