14 December 2009

Will Colorado Voters Hate Growth?

A tiny story in one of the weekend editions of the Denver Post noted that an initiative had been placed on the ballot to ban debt financing of new government buildings in Colorado. Two earlier finance measures (one cutting a variety of taxes and user's fees, and the other apparently seeking to reduce property taxes) have already been approved.

Where does government build new buildings? In areas experiencing growth. And, it is close to impossible to build new buildings without some form of debt financing. Who wants new neighborhoods without government? Somolia's governmental model may look good to the Independence Institute, but the rest of us prefer convenient, quality government services. So, the measure's main impact appears to be to oppose growth in Colorado.

It is another case of obscure bad policy going to the voters.

One of the better summaries of pending ballot initiatives is here, although the format makes it hard to sort the live measures from the abandoned or rejected ones and has considerable redundancy since multiple versions of the same measure are treated as separate proposals. Proposals ten (tax cuts) and twelve (property taxes) from that list have made the cut. The debt proposal appears to be number twenty-one on that list. Proposal 22 (secret ballots, probably opposed to card check union recognition) and Proposal 25 (personhood, from conception) appear to have petitions that are currently circulating.

The state legislature can put issues on the ballot by a supermajority (typically state constitutional clean up, state constitutional amendments and taxation issues).

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