Archive for the ‘state’ 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.

Maintaining Boulder open space trails: user fees & sponsorships should replace taxes

Posted on: June 22nd, 2011 by admin No Comments

Opinion Editorial
June 18, 2011

by Brian Schwartz

How Boulder County finances its trail maintenance is unjust. The county sales tax forces people to finance hiking trail maintenance, whether or not they use them. Meanwhile, people who don’t shop in Boulder County can use trails without paying. The County should strive to replace tax-funded trails with user fees and sponsorships.

As a type of user fee, parking fees and annual parking passes for cars registered in other counties are a step in the right direction. The assumption is that a typical hiker coming from outside Boulder County pays less county sales tax than a trail user who resides in the county. The parking fee is an attempt to resolve this difference.

A drawback is that the fee makes some out-of-county hikers “pay twice.” Meanwhile, the sales tax still forces county residents who do not use trails to fund other people’s recreation. To resolve this, the County should both decrease taxes and extend trailhead parking fees and passes to cars registered in the county.

In addition to user fees, corporate sponsorship of trails is another way to raise revenue through voluntary means. The Continental Divide Trail Alliance does this. Since 2009, REI has contributed more than $15,000, while Home Depot, Salomon, Coleman, and Smartwool have each contributed more than $1,000. Trailhead maps and direction signs along the trail could identify sponsors: “This trail is maintained by a generous donation by …” and include the sponsor’s logo — tastefully sized of course.

A version of this article was printed in the Boulder Daily Camera on Saturday, June 18, 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!