Archive for Thursday, October 20, 2005

State education officials speak out against TABOR

Opponents say so-called Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights devastating in Colorado

October 20, 2005


— State higher education officials Wednesday jumped into the fray over TABOR, saying the so-called Taxpayer's Bill of Rights would devastate higher education in Kansas.

After analyzing the TABOR proposal, Regents Chairwoman Donna Shank, of Liberal, said "there isn't one piece of good news for higher education in there."

But Alan Cobb, leader of the pro-TABOR Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity, said he wasn't surprised by the regents' vote.

"Government entities don't like restrictions on their ability to access public funds," Cobb said.

TABOR would limit increases in state spending to population growth plus the rate of inflation. Revenues raised above that amount would be refunded to taxpayers, and any tax increase would have to be approved by voters.

Supporters, who recently conducted a statewide promotion tour, said the proposal would stimulate the Kansas economy and protect taxpayers. They have proposed TABOR as a constitutional amendment, which would require two-thirds approval in the Legislature and a statewide vote, or simply by statute, which would require a majority of the Legislature and approval of the governor.

The regents adopted a resolution opposing either method.

They said automatic limits on spending and taxes might sound appealing but were simplistic and would lead to an increase in tuition, and reduce state dollars available for education, social services and highways.

Regent Dick Bond, of Overland Park, a former Senate president, said the proposal was being pushed by "very wealthy people who don't want to pay anymore."

Regent Janice DeBaug, of Emporia, said TABOR in Colorado has "absolutely been devastating for higher education there."

But TABOR supporter Cobb disputed Bond's assertion, saying that TABOR supporters represented people from all income levels. He also said Colorado's higher education system ranked ahead of Kansas' in some ratings.

Several regents members said that because of restrictions from TABOR, Colorado voters would decide in November whether to impose a five-year "timeout" on TABOR in order to direct funds to needed improvements.

The regents also urged university officials to get their students and parents involved in defeating TABOR.

Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway said many people were discussing TABOR at KU.

"Discussion of this issue is important for the whole state and will continue for some months," he said.


shanefivedyes 12 years, 8 months ago

"Tabor would limit increases in state spending to population growth plus the rate of inflation" Sounds like a pretty good idea. It's time for a change kansas!!!!!

Kodiac 12 years, 8 months ago

Thank-you Jamesaust for the info.

Now that was very enlightening. Certainly much more revealing than saying "class warfare" or blowing warm sunshine up my tootsie. More importantly, no avoidance of the issues. Alan you should pay attention here.

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

Well, golly, isn't it amazing that the hogs wouldn't want anyone to control how much goes into their trough?

Jamesaust 12 years, 8 months ago

How again is it that a Legislature controlled by Republicans - many or most radical "conservative" Republicans - is unable to contain their own spending?

Some items - medicaid, a little highway spending, criminal and judical costs, and as some recently discovered education expenses - are difficult to near impossible to control. All other expenditures are 100% within the control of those elected officials who are most outspoken in favor of this plan.

Government spending is famously resistant to cost control due to inability for much of governmental purposes to benefit from productivity improvements. I suspect a civil trial today takes about as much time as it did a century ago but we know that the wages, carpeting, electricity, etc. cost much more. While private business may be able to computerize work, allowing a same-sized staff to do 5, 10, or 100 times more work, how does an instructor computerize his/her way to providing personal education to 5, 10, or 100 times more students?

No, TABOR supporters are just like everyone else - they want the lowest level of taxes paired with the services they personally value from government and only those services. These people have a method of carrying out their will - the elections held on a regular basis. Don't like taxes? Vote them out of office. If you don't do that, or you are outvoted, then stop complaining. What sort of "free" society pre-determines the answer to the most central public question - what revenues will be raised to carry out public projects? For those who worship at the altar of the Founding Fathers, why do you favor less freedom to choose than they? Why pretend you are limiting government when you're actually limiting the People?

We have met the enemy, and they are us.

Densmore 12 years, 8 months ago

A vote for TABOR is a vote against our current democratic process. A vote for TABOR is tantamount to saying "an elected legislature and an elected executive branch are incapable of governing us."

By the way, for years I listened to some folks decry the "tax and spend liberals." Which is worse, a "tax and spend liberal" or a "spend but don't tax conservative?"

Kodiac 12 years, 8 months ago

John 1945:

And just who are the hogs?

And don't you just love the statement "But TABOR supporter Cobb disputed Bond's assertion, saying that TABOR supporters represented people from all income levels" which very conviently sidesteps the actual issue. Notice he didn't say who it would benefit, only that a lot of sheep support it.


AlanCobb 12 years, 8 months ago

This is Alan Cobb.

I sidestepped nothing.

Is it really that hard to believe that our group receives support and funding from middle income, low income, doctors, nurses, teachers, school board members, businessmen, farmers and lots of other Kansans?

Where did the money come from that created the huge foundations supporting groups like Kansas Action for Children?

Reasonable people can disagree on whether they'd like to see a Taxpayer's Bill of Rights in Kansas.

Demonizing those who support TABOR or trying to use class warfare really doesn't add much to the discussion.

Densmore 12 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Cobb:

I can't speak for Kodiac, but I think that he/she did not take issue with your dispute of Bond's assertion. Kodiac merely offered his/her opinion that it was more important to understand who would benefit from TABOR than who supports TABOR. At least I think that is what he/she was saying.

Finally, I don't understand the basis of your intimation that supporters of TABOR are being demonized. I think that TABOR is a terrible idea, but I don't view you folks as demons. Where in this forum were supporters of TABOR demonized?

Densmore 12 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Cobb:

Upon further review of your remarks, I would like to point out that the most inflammatory statements in this forum came from you. Without cause, you have accused others of:

  1. Demonizing proponants of TABOR, and

  2. Attempting to create class warfare.

You sound a little edgy to me.

Kodiac 12 years, 8 months ago


Densmore is right on the money. Your quote says nothing about who it benefits which was the original point of what you were supposedly replying to.

I am sorry that you were offended by my sheep comment. It was not meant to demonize. I do agree with Densmore that TABOR is a horrible idea. Please explain to me how this specifically benefits the children for the State of Kansas. As an example, Colorado was cited as having this amendment and who are now trying to suspend it so they can actually make some needed improvements in education. So taking money away from the government did not really solve their problems it excacerbated it. If you want to improve public education for children, then work on improving the actual services of the government. Don't take money away from it and expect the problem to go away.

I think it is wonderful that there are groups that seek to improve the education of children. I am certainly for that and I am sure as you have mentioned many others are too. However there is no obligation on your part on where or how to spend the money. In fact I question your own agenda here Alan because you have still not answered the question. Who does TABOR benefit? How does it help public education? I would much rather have the money in the government and find ways to improve the government since they do have an obligation to educate our children. All TABOR does is ultimately hurt the children.

AlanCobb 12 years, 8 months ago

Who benefits from TABOR? The entire state.

Remember what TABOR does; it requires voter approval for tax increases and spending increases above the rate of inflation + population growth.

If the case can be made that the tax or spending increase is a good thing, I trust the Kansas citizens will make the best decision.

When arguments don't talk about the issue at hand, but "who benefits" and the benficiaries are the wealthy, that is class warfare.

If the wealthy in Kansas only cared about their bottom line, they would move to a lower tax state.

TABOR doesn't cut a thing; it manages the growth. Please tell me what was taken away from Colorado K12?

The poverty rate in Colorado is less than Kansas'. Does TABOR benefit the poor based on this?

I am not just referring to the comments on this board, but those of folks like Senator Bond.

Since Colorado passed TABOR in 1992, they've added thousands of more jobs than Kansas and higher paying jobs.

Those that think government is the best answer certainly will not like TABOR.

But, what is your answer for the sluggish Kansas economy? Higher taxes and more government spending?

I, and many TABOR supporters think that a tax and spending limit help everyone.

You may not agree, but to say that only the wealthy support and agree with this is pure nonsense.

Kodiac 12 years, 8 months ago


So tell me where all of your information is coming from concerning "they've added thousands of more jobs than Kansas and higher paying jobs." When you make statements like that, you need to cite references. Even if those statistics were true then there has to be a clear connection between TABOR and the jobs that you are referring to being created. I would imagine that to be a fairly hard thing to prove especially since you are talking about a timeframe of 13 years.

You still have not addressed why Colorado is trying to suspend this program for 5 years? Seems like a long time for something that according to you is benefitting the whole state. I get the impression that you are not telling the whole story here Alan.

"TABOR doesn't cut a thing; it manages the growth. Please tell me what was taken away from Colorado K12?"
It is apparent there are many people that disagree with you Alan. Again you need to back up your statements through actual examples and proof and exactly how will TABOR manage our economy. I am sure that our economy is a bit more complicated than you are making it out to be and saying that TABOR will fix it makes me wonder where you got your economic degree from.

"The poverty rate in Colorado is less than Kansas'. Does TABOR benefit the poor based on this?" I have no idea what you are trying to say here.

Everybody seems to be trying to turn the government into some kind of scapegoat but our government is one of the things that makes this country great. I know that there are always going to be problems and need for improvement and as Ross says, we just need to roll-up our sleeves and get under that hood and work on it.

If you want to call it class warfare those are your words. All I know is that the people that benefit the most from this program are the people with the most to lose. I am not asking the middle class or lower classes to go to battle here but I do think that it needs to be pointed out.

Kodiac 12 years, 8 months ago


It would help me if you were to address these statements specifically and tell us why Kansas would be different?
"The Colorado experience has indicated that they have found it to be overly restrictive in terms of their ability to respond to growing population, higher education needs, parks and recreation.

"In fact, the governor of Colorado, who was at one point a leading proponent, is now leading the charge to change the amendment dramatically. So it is wise for us not to just look at the theory but to look at the application," she said.

It seems that you are not telling the whole story Alan. It is hard to believe in someone that avoids talking about the issues or problems that have been documented.

Kodiac 12 years, 8 months ago

Hmmm Alan,

I was reading this list of groups that are opponents to TABOR which included:

AARP-Kansas, Kansas chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Big Tent Coalition, Kansas Action for Children, Kansas AFL-CIO, Kansas Association of Local Health Departments, Kansas Association of Public Employees, Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas Families United for Public Education, Kansas Health Consumers Coalition, Kansas National Education Association, United Methodist Church-Kansas and Inter-Faith Ministries.

That is quite an impressive list. I did noticed that you yourself mentioned the Kansas Action for Children which is curiously enough against TABOR. Can you explain to me why you would do that Alan?

Jamesaust 12 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Cobb,

I note carefully how you have avoided explaining how TABOR offers the People more than the rights they now possess. If the People really believe they want both low taxes and less government, what prevents them from voting for officeholders to carry this out?

"If the case can be made that the tax or spending increase is a good thing, I trust the Kansas citizens will make the best decision." Really? They already have the power (as they always have) to do this. TABOR does not give them any more opportunities than pass them by every two years as it is now.

Colorado's growth rate is average among western non-coastal states but yet it is Colorado that has drunk the magic elixor of TABOR. Colorado is the ONLY state in the region to have actually LOST JOBS over the last several years. Colorado's growth rate is indistinguishable from the decade preceeding TABOR's enactment. Colorado has above average incomes because it has the single greatest per capita number of high tech workers; this isn't because of TABOR however but because these jobs (a) can be done anywhere, and so (b) many prefer to do them in places with mountain vistas - no such luck Kansas (Kansas should have kept eastern Colorado when it had the chance back in the 1850s).

So what again is the purpose of this bizarre scheme other than to be a simplistic cookie cutter approach to governing? What's next, electing a computer to be governor?

I certainly don't think government is the best answer. Its almost as bad as TABOR. I value the education, roads, and service my tax dollars provide. I need elected representatives who work harder at separating waste from value, who are able to reform government to work better, and yes who are willing to raise taxes when necessary to invest in this state's future. If rock bottom taxes were an easy key to wealth, Mississippi and Arkansas would lead the nation!

AlanCobb 12 years, 8 months ago

"Colorado's growth rate is indistinguishable from the decade preceeding TABOR's enactment. "

That is simply not true. Kansas' and Colorado's growth rates were similar in the 1970s and 1980s. Colorado zoomed to the top post-1992. We can argue about whether TABOR caused the growth, but there is no argument that their growth rate boomed post TABOR.

Kansas has bigger job growth in the 1980s that Colorado. Both Kansas and Colorado were in the bottom ten in median family income growth.

And again, if you concern is the poor, why has Colorado's poverty rate dropped since 1992, while Kansas' has increased?

Here are facts about Colorado:

Median family income growth rank 1984 92, #43; 1992 04: #7

Job Growth rank 1984-92, #33; 1992-04 #6

Gross State Product growth rank, 1984 92: #36; 1992-2004, #4

GSP per capita growth 1984- 92, #43; 1992 2004: #3

Population growth 1984 1992: #19; 1992 2004, #3

Please tell me again that there is no difference in Colorado's growth before and after 1992?

Kodiac 12 years, 8 months ago

Hi Alan:

Great to hear from you. The facts you have given are very interesting but it does raise some questions about what is actually happening there now. Please address this issue. I am not sure how I can be more clear.

There are a few facts missing from your warm sunshine story Alan. Can you tell us what has been happening in Colorado from an economic standpoint the last 3 years? Lets see they are in one of the worst economic recession compared to any other states in the US. Hmmm how do you go from being one of the strongest economies in the US to being one of the worst? I find that very curious don't you. Imagine having all of that money come into your state and yet none of it to be found anywhere now. Also now Colorado ranks among the worst states when it comes to public services including highway maintenance, higher education (including teacher salaries and school budgets), health insurance for children with no recovery coming anytime soon. Where has the money gone Alan? How does a state with the statisics you have given us end up in this position. If it follows that TABOR is responsible for the growth in the economy, then TABOR is responsible for the decline in this economy. Who wants to live in a place that cannot afford to give you basic public services.

So it really brings us back to the question Alan. Why is Colorado trying to get rid of TABOR? Answer this question Alan and stop with the warm sunshine.

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