In Colorado, the Kochs’ political longarm is yet again pushing their agenda that is good for the Kochs but bad for everyday Coloradans.
More than happy to sacrifice funding for essential programs like public education and health care if it means a smaller government, the Americans for Prosperity’s Colorado chapter is on the attack against Governor Hickenlooper’s proposed budget that projects increased revenues.
In 1992, Colorado passed the Taypayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) — a program that the Kochs and far right have loved for years. TABOR includes a provision that says that “state and local governments cannot … spend revenue collected under existing tax rates if revenues grow faster than the rate of inflation and population growth, without voter approval.”
The TABOR law has caused issues for state budgeting in the past. Impacted by the recession and wildfires, voters approved a temporary change in 2005 to the law that suspended the revenue limit, but the suspension expired in 2010. Now, TABOR is causing budget issues again and the Kochs are taking full advantage.
AFP is pushing Colorado Republicans to sign a petition promising not to “undermine” TABOR. But without a temporary change to the law, Hickenlooper is warning that funding for “basic needs” is at risk.
If AFP is successful, Colorado will suffer. In 2005, if voters hadn’t let the state change the law, it could have been devastating for the state. Lawmakers were talking about closing universities, letting highways literally crumble, and reducing health care for the poor. Today, because of the slow rate of wage increases (reminder: AFP and the Kochs oppose a minimum wage increase) and the volatility of world affairs, the governor doubts voters would vote for a similar ballot initiative.
The Kochs don’t care about Colorado’s education or health care system — they’ll do everything they can to stop Governor Hickenlooper even when it hurts Coloradans.
Read more about how the Kochs have taken advantage of Colorado in Bridge Project’s report: The Kochs’ Rocky Mountain High.