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From: "Eric O'Keefe" <firstname.lastname@example.org >
To: "Kurt O'Keefe" <email@example.com>
Subject: Fw: Colorado Governor Owens Sets Record Straight on TEL
Date: Fri, 12 May 2006 10:56:24 -0500
----- Original Message -----From: FreedomWorksTo: KELO-ScottTillman ; KELO-PaulJacob ; KELO-John Tillman ; KELO-Heather Wilhelm ; KELO-Eric O'KeefeSent: Thursday, May 11, 2006 5:12 PMSubject: Colorado Governor Owens Sets Record Straight on TEL
Setting the Record Straight on Spending Limits
By Bill Owens, Governor of Colorado
May 10, 2006
As Ohioans debate government spending limits, some may be misled by those who claim Colorado's spending limit law was so bad that it has been repealed.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Our Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR) is still in place and it still limits government growth to reasonable, prudent levels that allow our state's public and private sectors to be strong and productive.
And, I am amused by TEL opponents who say our TABOR was harmful' and caused headaches' for our citizens. Colorado is a prosperous, growing state. Ohio TEL opponents who suggest otherwise and then blame our spending limit are twice wrong.
Ohioans need only examine the ultimate opinion poll of where people choose to live and where businesses decide to create well-paying jobs. In the last five years Colorado has grown in population by 8.5%. We have replaced every job lost during the recession that hit our high-tech industries hard. Incomes in Colorado rank 8th nationally and are growing faster than the national average. We easily outpace Ohio in every one of these measures.
Our spending limit is a big reason for our success. If Ohio were to pass its own spending limit, its citizens could share in the same growth, prosperity and freedom we have in Colorado.
Added to the state Constitution by referendum in 1992, the spending limit helped keep the reins on Colorado's budget, primarily by using a formula based on population growth and inflation. If taxes provided surpluses above that budget, the money was returned to the taxpayers.
This has meant that our budget could grow, but only at a prudent pace. So when the recent recession hit, the resulting drop in tax revenue meant serious belt-tightening, but it did not lead to the deep cuts and tax increases seen in Ohio.
The recession did, however, uncover an unintended glitch in the law. As the economy recovered, the law didn't allow for the budget to return to earlier levels, even though the revenue was available. Any future budget growth had to be calculated by using the lowest point hit during the recession as the base.
That was too restrictive. Compare the budget to a reservoir. During a drought, the water recedes. Then, when the rain returns, you should be able to refill the lake. But instead, because of the glitch, the reservoir had to stay dry. In Colorado, our budget was being kept too low by the rules even though state revenue was increasing.
Ohio's TEL avoids this error.
Last November, Coloradoans fixed that glitch. The voters gave the state permission to retain all surplus revenues for five years, allowing the budget reservoir to return to pre-recession levels. The measure also allows for similar flexibility in the future if an economic downturn again drains the reservoir.
If you hear from TEL opponents that Colorado voters decimated their spending limit because it wasn't working, don't believe it. Our original taxpayer protections are still in place. The same formula for figuring the budget, a requirement that tax increases be voted on and, after the general fund is replenished, the return of tax surpluses to taxpayers remains intact.
Most important, those who crafted Ohio's TEL amendment learned from Colorado's difficulties and corrected the glitches that led to this fall's vote. Ohio's TEL is what Coloradoans got when they voted to fix our spending limit.
Some differences remain, but once you get past the minutiae, most people agree that placing appropriate limits on the growth of government spending makes sense. Why should government spending grow at a rate faster than the growth of the population and inflation in general?
In Colorado, the answer remains unchanged: it shouldn't. Those who want to see Ohio mirror Colorado's successes should agree as well, and support the TEL.
Bill Owens was elected Colorado's 40th governor in 1998 and is completing his second term in that office.
this one made it.
I will delete it shortly.