Letters to the Editor

Republican Party in Colorado needs to rein in Rep. Marostica

Dear Republican Leader:

You are part of a group of community leaders that placed Don Marostica on the ballot and then worked to elect him. You sent him to the Capitol with the understanding that he would protect your liberties and would honor your independence and personal responsibility. You are likely the best political pressure point to insist that Rep. Marostica retract a current policy proposal with terrible consequences.

The issue is whether to remove an internal control on how fast the Legislature may grow the day-to-day operations of state government. It’s known as “Arveschoug-Bird,” or the 6 percent spending limit. To put this into perspective, please consider that California has no such limit, and can deficit-spend. California’s state budget crisis is $42 billion. If you adjust for its larger population, Colorado, by comparison, would have a $7 billion budget crisis. Instead, we have only $600 million. (And only one-third is actual cuts. The rest is an increase the Legislature counted on, but that did not materialize.) So, for every $1 problem our Legislature faces with Arveschoug-Bird in place, California has a $12 problem. And Don Marostica is the House sponsor of a new measure, Senate Bill 228, to move all of us closer to the situation in California. Wasn’t he paying attention last fall when the voters turned down Amendment 59, the last attack on TABOR?

There’s also the arrogant refusal to follow his oath to be guided by the state Constitution. That foundational document rightly demands that significant changes in tax-and-spend go before a vote of the people, and, for more than 16 years, that interpretation has stood. Rep. Marostica’s legislation would ignore the requirement, and SB 228 intends the Legislature to override your Constitution. It invites yet another expensive citizen lawsuit and thwarts the intent of TABOR’s proponents.

Man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts. Ronald Reagan.

Frequently, in stable economic times, TABOR allows the government to spend hundreds of millions of dollars above the operating costs covered by Arveschoug-Bird. These funds purchase highway and bridge improvements and maintenance and improvements to university and state buildings. If Rep. Marostica removes the internal spending control, there will be less available for transportation and other permanent assets. Then, tax increases will be demanded.

A second, also dangerous bill, Senate Bill 208, of which Rep. Marostica is a sponsor, will raid almost every existing state cash fund. Unfortunately, this bill has already passed and will soon be on its way to the governor for signature.

We look to your leadership to rein in your state representative’s mistaken steps. Rep. Marostica will hold a town hall meeting in Loveland on March 14. I hope you will engage in the debate.

Yours for liberty,

Marty Neilson
President
Colorado Union of Taxpayers