Rules limiting the legislature’s ability to tax, spend, and/or incur debt appear in the U.S. Constitution and in the constitutions of almost all states. But probably the most famous and most controversial is Colorado’s “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights,” or TABOR. TABOR gives the people, voting in referenda, the final say on most state and local government tax and debt increases and on some spending increases. It became part of the Colorado constitution in 1992.
TABOR has been roundly praised and roundly vilified. It also has been roundly misunderstood—by its friends, its foes, the media, and the courts.
Early last year I wrote a book-length issue paper on TABOR. It guides you through:
- TABOR’s history
- The history of measures like TABOR
- The constitutionality of TABOR under the U.S. Constitution
- Why it was adopted
- What TABOR meant originally
- What it means today, after many court decisions and subsequent laws and constitutional amendments
- How Colorado has fared under TABOR
- Suggestions for reform
The Independence Institute has just published my work. It is called The Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. You can download it here.