Archive for the ‘Revenue’ Category

The Attack on Colorado’s TABOR and the Threat to Other States

Posted on: January 9th, 2013 by admin No Comments

IP-1-2013 (January 2013)
Author: Robert G. Natelson and Zakary Kessler

PDF of full Issue Paper

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) has dire implications that extend far beyond the boundaries of Colorado. The theory of the lawsuit can be used to void well-founded safeguards in the constitutions of almost all other states.

In Independence Issue Paper 12-2012, Professor Rob Natelson, II’s Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence, debunked the lawsuit’s claim that TABOR violates the requirement that each state have a “republican form of government.” In this Issue Paper, Professor Natelson and Institute intern Zak Kessler demonstrate the practical implications of the lawsuit.

If the plaintiffs win, the result will be legal and practical chaos, not just in Colorado but across the country. This is because the theory of the lawsuit is that any fiscal restraints on a state legislature render that legislature less than “fully effective” and therefore “unrepublican.” Special interests can employ this theory to destroy well-founded and long-standing safeguards against legislative fiscal abuse. Furthermore, they can use the same theory to attack the voter initiative and referendum process, and other constitutional limits on the power of state politicians.

Red-light cameras can blame drivers for poor traffic engineering

Posted on: July 5th, 2011 by jlongo No Comments

Opinion Editorial
July 2, 2011

by Brian Schwartz

A movement against red light traffic cameras “appears to [be] gaining traction across the country,” reported MSNBC last week. Boulder officials want to add more red light cameras. Is this a good idea?

Say an intersection has an abnormally high rate of red light violations. Using red-light cameras puts blame on the drivers. But this seems unfair, as the same drivers also use safer intersections nearby. It’s more reasonable to first look for deficiencies in signal timing, visibility of signals, signs, and lane markings.

To encourage such solutions, the National Motorists Association offers a “$10,000 Ticket Camera Challenge” for intersections with high red light violations. The NMA guarantees “a minimum 50-percent reduction in red-light violations through the application of engineering solutions” or it will “pay the community $10,000 [for] any traffic safety program or project it chooses.”

Traffic cameras are also legally questionable, as defendants cannot confront their accuser. A California Superior Court Judge recently struck down eight cases of alleged red light running for these reasons. “Defendants here are entitled to be confronted with the testifying witness at trial,” she wrote.

As for effectiveness, data from the Boulder’s Transportation division shows decreased accidents at intersections after camera installations. But other factors could have been relevant. For example, changes in signal timing, all-red durations, and traffic volume. Further, there was no mention of how accident rates changed at intersections without cameras.

These shortcomings are typical of red light traffic camera studies showing benefits. A report by the Transportation Research Board states: “In many cases, the flaw in the analysis was the lack of a proper control group.” In some cities, traffic accidents increased after the addition of cameras, as the NMA’s website documents.

A version of this article was printed in the Boulder Daily Camera on July 2, 2011.

How Much Does Government Cost You?

Posted on: September 17th, 2010 by admin

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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 Institute that enables any American to clearly understand three aspects of federal government spending.First, the Government Cost Calculator helps you determine how much you will pay for various federal programs now and over the course of a lifetime. Second, it compares those tax payments to the forgone earnings that would have been possible if such funds were kept and invested in private, market accounts. Finally, the Government Cost Calculator enables you to see the difference between government expenditures and your tax payments, clearly illustrating the growing debt obligations you face in the future.

All you have to do is input your education, age, and income into the Government Cost Calculator and you will get results that accurately reflect how much our overbearing government costs YOU!