As the NC Senate approves a Taxpayer Protection Act (TPA), which would place constitutional restraints on the annual growth rate of state spending, create a state savings reserve fund that required 2/3 majority vote to spend down the fund, and lower the income tax cap from 10 to 5 percent, the left has trotted out the tired, and thoroughly debunked claims about Colorado’s experience with its TABOR. It is important to note that North Carolina’s TPA spending restraints differ in significant ways from Colorado’s TABOR, but nevertheless it is also important to shine the light of truth onto the big government apologists attempting to scare NC voters with horrific tales of woe from Colorado’s experience with a constitutional restraint on state budget growth.
Case in point is Rob Christensen’s article in the N&O. Among the claims is that under its TABOR, Colorado’s spending on public and higher education declined as a share of personal income. Fortunately, Civitas has re-published this 2011 article that thoroughly debunks misleading and simply false claims being made by the left against Colorado’s TABOR. Specific to this claim, the article reveals:
Measuring K-12 education spending “as a share of personal income” is designed to mislead. This is more a reflection of Colorado’s personal income growing at a much faster rate than the national average in the decade following the passage of TABOR (see Figure 1).
Actual total spending per pupil in Colorado improved from 29th in the nation in 1992-93 to 28th in the nation after 11 years of TABOR.
Colorado ranked 22nd in average teacher salary in 2003, with the highest average instructional salary of any state in the Rocky Mountain region in 2003-04.
In 2005-06, average teacher salaries in Colorado were slightly higher than in North Carolina ($44,454 to $43,940). Further, average starting salaries for teachers in Colorado far outpaced those in North Carolina ($34, 952 to $28,905)
Don’t be fooled by the left’s fear mongering about constitutional spending restraints. Learn the facts behind the claims the left has already dusted off and trotted out.
And for those who don’t think North Carolina needs any protection against state legislative spending sprees, check out this chart that displays inflation-adjusted state spending from 1979-2009 compared to population growth. It shows that even inflation-adjusted spending grew at three times the rate of population growth during that time. If the General Fund had merely kept up with population growth (and adjusting for inflation) during that 30 years, the FY 2008-09 budget would have been only $11.1 billion, or 93% less that that year’s actual budget of $21.4 billion.