Magazine article The American Prospect

Enter a Higher State: Colorado: Rocky Mountain Highs (and Lows)

Magazine article The American Prospect

Enter a Higher State: Colorado: Rocky Mountain Highs (and Lows)

Article excerpt

In some ways, COLORADO is luckier than its regional neighbors like Nevada and Arizona, states that bought into the housing bubble in a huge way and are now suffering accordingly. On the other hand, those states never had to deal with Colorado's 1992 Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) law, which forced state legislators to restrict spending increases to the rate of inflation and population growth and made them return revenues raised over that limit.

"We've seen significant reductions in rates of revenue collection [beginning] in the late 1990s and early 2000s, primarily because the TABOR law wouldn't allow the state to save or invest," says Carol Hedges, senior fiscal analyst for the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute. "We went into the recession with some of the lowest rates of tax collection and public revenue available for public investment, of any state in the country."

Thirteen years of TABOR (which was put on hold in 2005) have ensured emaciated state budgets. …

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