In 2005, big money convinced us (by way of Referendum C TV ads) that Colorado Government needed our TABOR refunds more than we did. Amazingly, we agree to give up an unknown amount (because the returned refunds were for the next 5 years and were as yet undetermined), which was estimated to be about $3.5 billion. As the years went by, the amount we gave back turned out to more like $7 billion. My, how generous we were then at giving the government our money.
Things are different today.
Today we are all by necessity more frugal. We need to keep our own money more than ever. Do I need to list the reasons why? Unemployment, 42 million US citizens on food stamps, rampant foreclosures in the housing market (1 in 4 mortgage holders underwater), dollar devaluation, asset deflation and price inflation. For the same reason that giving money to the homeless guy on the street doesn't decrease homelessness, giving the government our refunds of $7 billion didn't improve government frugality, in fact, they spent even more.
Now, once again, with 60, 61, and 101 on the ballot, we face an onslaught of TV ads (see campaign sponsors here) warning us against voting for keeping more of our own money. The government needs it more than we do, we are told, and if we vote FOR the "Ugly 3" (as opponents have framed it) all hell will break loose. Firefighters and teachers will be laid off - our homes will burn and our children remain uneducated.
A detailed analysis shows that the "3 Amigos" (as proponents have tried to frame it. I hereby frame it as Our Three or r3) will save Colorado taxpayers about $5 billion over the next 10 years, a more gentle reduction in government revenue than Ref C was an increase. Remember, this would be $5 billion over 10 years from a budget at $49 billion today. That's about a 10% reduction if you let them pack it all into one year, but only .5% per year over 10 years.
A poll, published today, shows that, in general, Colorado folks are looking for a reduction in government spending at all levels.
Will TV ads win out over common sense? Will the people's need to keep their own money be beaten by a TV fear campaign? That's what usually happens. I remember having to explain to my then 3 year-old son that TV ads are mostly lies. He was amazed, but then he was only 3.
Rob McNealy, a Libertarian Congressional candidate in CD6, is in favor of r3.