View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Thursday, February 05, 2004

Watch Your Wallet 

Colorado's fiscal problem is a long-term issue that we need to address. Funny then, that the "non-partisan" Bell Policy Center focuses exclusively on the revenue side. Colorado has a board which must approve proposed constitutional changes, making sure that they only address a single issue.

One proposal eliminates TABOR's inflation-based spending limits while still requiring that voters approve tax increases.

The other caps the size of the state budget at a fixed percentage of the state's total personal income, and eliminates revenue limits for local governments.

The first proposal lets the legislature raise all kinds of money, as long as they don't call it a "tax," and the second is basically a sop to the public employees' unions. Either one may raise enough money to let the legislature avoid dealing with Amendment 23 and Gallagher altogether.

Yesterday, the city of Denver and the unions also moved to protect its prevailing wage law. applying to all city contracts over $2000:

[AFL-CIO Chairman Steve] Adams said union wages might be higher than non-union wages, but "we say that when you hire a union member, you get a better- trained, better-quality worker, and the work will get done on time."

Must have been that vaunted union efficiency that turned Detroit into a ghost town in the 70s and 80s. I haven't thought this one all the way through, and there may be some good reasons for it, but my first reaction is that it sure looks like a hidden tax.

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