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Colorado Voters Held a Tea Party

Brent Mead. writing at the National Taxpayers Union's Government Bytes, provides a recap of the tax measures on yesterday's Colorado ballot, including a link to a Denver Post story, saying:

“Voters overwhelmingly defeated the only statewide tax increase on the ballot in the country, and created a “killing field” of local tax increases.”

Over the weekend, the Associated Press provided an indepth analysis of the tax measures on the Colorado ballot, including writing:

“The nation's only statewide tax vote on the November ballot asks Colorado voters whether they want to temporarily raise taxes to generate $3 billion for classrooms and colleges — a proposal that has stirred fierce opposition because of the stagnant economy.

“The vote could serve as a test of voters' mood on tax increases and their frustration after endless rounds of education cuts in Colorado.

"If it should pass, it think it will get a fair amount of attention because no one is expecting anything with the words 'tax increase' to pass," said Norman Provizer, a political science professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver.” (emphasis added)

The Wall Street Journal's editorial begins this way:

“You probably won't be reading much about it, and don't look for the results to get a lot of airtime on CNN or MSNBC, but Colorado held a referendum on taxes on Tuesday. The tax increasers got blown away.

“By a nearly 2 to 1 margin, voters rejected a $2.9 billion income and sales tax increase ostensibly earmarked for education. Proposition 103 would have raised the income tax rate to 5% from 4.63% and the sales tax to 3% from 2.9%.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Paul Gigot concluded his Political Diary column with this:

“In other news to give progressives heartburn, pro-voucher candidates prevailed for the school board in suburban Douglas County, where a voucher program has divided the area and is bogged down in legal challenges, and two reformers won seats on the Denver school board. Oh, and Denver voters rejected mandatory paid sick leave for all workers, 64.5% to 35.4%.

“In 2008, Denver voters went for a candidate named Barack Obama by more than 75%, and Colorado gave him 53.5%. Much can change in a year, but Tuesday's results suggest that President Obama's road to re-election is going to be rockier in the Rockies in 2012.”

NTU's Brent Mead adds an important point about the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which Colorado voters passed several years ago, i.e.:

"Before going into any detail it worth stating that Tuesday once again showed the value of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). As our friends at the Illinois Policy Institute stated on facebook, “This Proposition [103] is losing 65% to 35% and calls for a fraction of the tax increase that the Illinois legislature passed in January. What if Illinois taxpayers were allowed to vote on that one?” That could be true in any number of places. The beauty of TABOR is that it lets the taxpayers, rather than politicians, decide on the appropriate size of government."

Congratulations to Colorado voters!

For more news about the vote: Tax Foundation's Tax Policy Blog, Fox News, BusinessWeek, and Reuters.

UPDATE (11/6/11): At Commentary magazine's Contentions blog, Economic historian John Gordon Steel describes the defeat of new taxes for education as going "down in defeat."


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