Note: Due to technical issues the livestream is unavailable.
To de-Bruce or not de-Bruce?
That is the question posed to voters by Proposition CC on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Prop CC would remove the revenue cap put in place by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, freeing the excess money to be spent on transportation and education rather than refunding it to taxpayers.
Joey Bunch, lead political correspondent for The Gazette’s sister publication, Colorado Politics, and KOAA’s Andy Koen will moderate a debate on the pros and cons of Prop CC from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Penrose House Garden Pavilion in Colorado Springs.
The debate will be followed by a reception with hors d’oeuvres and beverages.
The public is invited to the event, hosted by KOAA News5, The Gazette and El Pomar Foundation’s Forum for Civic Advancement. Arguing in favor of Prop CC will be Colorado House Speaker Kathleen Collins Becker. Arguing against it will be Michael Fields, executive director of Colorado Rising Action.
You can register for the debate at gazette.com/tabor and leave a question for the moderators to ask. KOAA and The Gazette will livestream the debate.
TABOR, as the state constitutional amendment is called, caps government spending, based on a formula of inflation and population growth, then directs the state to refund money to taxpayers when income exceeds the cap.
In this year’s booming economy, the state brought in $310 million above the cap and expects to surpass it by $342 million next year, according to the Colorado Legislative Council, the nonpartisan research arm of the General Assembly . The state would spend that money on transportation and education needs under Prop CC, rather than refund it to taxpayers.
Opponents of Prop CC call it a con job. As Bunch puts it, “Proposition CC has been an under-the-radar broadside to what conservatives believe about TABOR. On one hand, it seems like a tax hike to take away a tax break, and losing that spending cap takes the brakes off government spending. On the other hand, TABOR’s greatest strength is direct democracy for the people to decide tax issues. On Nov. 5, that’s exactly what they’ll do.”
Proponents say the cap has held the state back. A booming Colorado has taken on many more responsibilities than it had 27 years ago, but TABOR keeps the state budget from growing with the economy. As a result, they say, core public services such as K-12 schools, transportation and higher education have suffered.
“With support from voters, Prop CC will finally allow the state to begin fixing things,” Gov. Jared Polis said at the official launch of the pro-Prop CC campaign.
“If you’re frustrated about traffic and your commute and potholes, vote yes on CC.
Why is it called de-Brucing? Because TABOR was born right here in Colorado Springs, proposed and championed by anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce.