Opponents of popular participation in government have long argued that when a state constitution or legislature permits the people to vote on revenue measures and other laws, this puts the state out of compliance with the U.S. Constitution’s Guarantee Clause: the requirement at all states have a “Republican Form of Government.” Traditionally, their argument has been that the Constitution draws a sharp distinction between a republic and a democracy, and that citizen initiatives and referenda are too democratic to be republican. Recently, a group of plaintiffs sued in federal court, challenging Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) relying on a variation of this theory.
In this Issue Paper, Professor Rob Natelson, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence and the author of the most important scholarly article on the Guarantee Clause, sets the record straight. Marshaling evidence from Founding-Era sources and from the words of the Founders themselves, he shows that the phrase “Republican Form of Government” permits citizen lawmaking—and that, in fact, most of the governments on the Founders’ list of republics included far more citizen lawmaking than is permitted in Colorado or any other American state. He further shows that the principal purpose of the Guarantee Clause was not to restrict popular government, but to protect popular government by forestalling monarchy.
November 23rd, 2010 by jlongo
Categories: Featured, Updates, budget, citizens, colorado, fiscal, government, policy, shortfall, sustainable
The report provides an overview of the structure, timing and size of the State budget. We speak to how the problems originated and how things have gone wrong in recent years. The Citizens’ Budget includes legislative, constitutional, and policy recommendations to close the looming state budget gap – without raising taxes – and move Colorado [...]
September 17th, 2010 by admin
Categories: Featured, Revenue, Updates, debt, deficit, earnings, federal, fiscal, government, income, local, state, taxes, waste
Thanks to our friends at the Independent Institute out in Oakland, California, regular folks like us can figure out just how much the government is costing us in direct payments and in lost earnings over our lifetime. From the About Page on the MyGovCost website,
The Government Cost Calculator is a unique service from The Independent [...]
August 27th, 2010 by jlongo
Categories: Featured, government, limited, moral, reclaim, spending, taxes, tom ryan
A good friend of the Fiscal Policy Center and Free People, Free Markets alumni Tom Ryan has a wonderfully informative organization and website called Reclaiming Moral Government. Tom has created a slide show that displays the changing role of government from 1850 to present day.