Archive for Monday, November 28, 2005

Weaker TABOR in works

November 28, 2005


— It's being called TABOR lite.

Backers of changing the Kansas Constitution to enact spending and tax limits say they probably don't have the necessary two-thirds support to get the measure on the ballot. The measure has been dubbed the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR for short.

But TABOR proponents may make a run at a similar statutory change - TABOR lite - that would require a simple majority in the House and Senate.

A statutory change would require fewer votes in the Legislature and would give Kansans an opportunity to see how a spending and tax restriction would work, said Alan Cobb of Americans for Prosperity.

"It puts a marker out there," Cobb said. "People will be able to see it doesn't cause locust swarms and cats and dogs living together."

Under the proposed TABOR constitutional amendment, state government spending increases would be limited to increases in population and inflation, and all revenues collected above that amount would be refunded to taxpayers. In addition, any tax increase would have to be approved by voters.

To get that proposal on the ballot, however, would require 84 votes in the 125-member House and 27 in the 40-member Senate. The votes aren't there for the proposal.

No specific TABOR-lite bill has been drawn up, but generally it would include a spending cap similar to TABOR and perhaps a requirement that a super-majority of the Legislature would be required before taxes could be raised.

But opponents of TABOR are just as committed to opposing any kind of TABOR lite.

"It would be a dangerous approach to governing," said George Lippencott, a Lawrence volunteer for AARP, which is part of a coalition opposed to TABOR.

He said it would allow a minority of lawmakers to block needed tax reforms and push tax increases down to the local level, where governing bodies don't need super-majorities to enact changes.

Opponents of TABOR and TABOR lite also say the budget problems in neighboring Colorado should serve as a warning to Kansans against automatic fiscal restraints.

Earlier this month, Colorado voters, faced with potential budget cuts, decided to suspend TABOR for five years, essentially giving up $3.7 billion in tax refunds that will be spent on state government.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has spoken against a TABOR constitutional amendment in Kansas, and her office Friday said she probably would not look favorably on legislation similar to TABOR.

"She has been pretty clear in her concern in passing something like that," spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran said.


Richard Heckler 12 years, 2 months ago

TABOR is coming

No is the answer. IMO any politician who stands in support of this type of legislation is not being truthful to Kansas taxpayers/voters or has not done homework.

Densmore 12 years, 2 months ago

TABOR or TABOR Lite would remove important decision-making capabilities from our elected officials and place automatic controls on taxation. It is taxation's equivalent to the Soviet's fictional "Doomsday Machine," as described in Stanley Kubrick's 1964 dark-comedy classic "Dr. Strangelove."

For those of you who are too young to have seen the film, the short version is this: The Soviets create a thermonuclear device, the "Doomsday Machine," that is automatically triggered when any nuke is detonated on Soviet soil. The Doomsday Machine will automatically detonate several thousand megatons, sufficient to envelop the earth in a shroud of radioactivity, killing everything. The device is developed by the Soviets as an inexpensive, yet fool-proof, deterrent to nuclear war. The objective is to end the massive defense spending (in the cold war's arms race), that is destroying their economy, while ensuring against attack by the US. Great idea, but things don't always go as expected. Through a strange sequence of events, things go wrong, and the Doomsday Machine's automatic controls produce an opposite result from that which had been intended. Kind of like TABOR in COLORADO.

(Great movie. Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Keenan Wynn, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens, James Earl Jones. )

Jamesaust 12 years, 2 months ago

Without a specific piece of legislation, its not clear what the difference is between "TABOR-lite" and tax/spending restraint (which is something the Legislature should be doing anyway). It is also unclear to me if it is possible for the any individual session of the Legislature to bind future sessions with a "super majority" provision for anything - the Constitution merely requires a majority vote (I would think more would require amending the Constitution).

Whether its a good idea or not is a separate question. I am curious to see what measures would be put in place to restrict burdening local government with 'unfunded mandates' so that the State can pretend to be keeping within its tax/spending boundaries.

Densmore 12 years, 2 months ago


Nice list. I've seen most. Catch 22 is tremendous.

I see that you've omitted The Green Berets, starring John Wayne. I hope that Arminius does not get wind of your Un-American omission. He would come un-glued!

Fighting soldiers from the sky Fearless men who jump and die la la la and tweedle dee Kill the commies and we'll be free

Commenting has been disabled for this item.