Referendum C Central

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The Colorado Freedom

Referendum C Central

by Ari Armstrong, October 10, 2005 (creation date)


Referendum C would allow state politicians to keep and spend an estimated $3.743 billion over the first five years, after which period it would permanently ratchet-up state spending. That money is best spent by taxpayers, not politicians. Referendum C is not necessary. State spending is already expected to increase substantially over the next five years. Rather than increase net taxes, the legislature should cut wasteful and low-priority spending and keep in check rapid spending hikes in parts of the budget.

After the Passage of Referendum C

Referendum C Wrap-Up

It's just not true that opponents of Referendum C are "anti-government types" or "idologues of 'no government'."

High Taxes vs. Good Government

Selfishness and Ref. C

Stop the Smear Campaign Against Caldara

Reporters Spin Ref. C Myths

Ref. C: All over but the crying (link to Grand Junction Free Press

Most Important Documents

The single most important critical overview of Referendum C provided here is my podcast and text of August 15:

Podcast: Referendum C and the Colorado Budget

Those interested in the forecasts should also see the more recent documents linked below.

Next is my paper that examines several examples of wasteful spending:

Wasteful Spending by Colorado Government
(archived here)

An important addition to that paper is a more recent discussion of the possible use of federal dollars by the Economic Development Commission:

Economic Development Grants: Progress Report

Another point I regard as crucial is that the money taken in by Referendum C could be spent basically at the whim of the legislature, with few practical restraints. In addition, the amount of tax money that Referendum C would collect is unknown, because it would wipe out all TABOR-related refunds for five years, regardless of the amount:

Referendum C: A Blank Check and a Shell Game

More Analysis of Referendum C

Andrew Romanoff and Ari Armstrong debate Referendum C (October 28 update):

Romanoff Debates Ref. C

Susan Thornton understates the level of TABOR refunds (October 28 update):

Thornton's $15 Fib

Paul Prentice, who estimated the long-term costs of Referendum C, replies to his critics, and Ari Armstrong corrects a couple of newspaper articles (October 28 update):

Ref. C: Setting the Record Straight

Economist Lawrence McQuillan argued that the passage of Referendum C would chip away at sensible limits on government spending (October 13 update):

Ref. C Could Turn CO into CA

Following is Douglas Bruce's critique of Referendum C:

12 Reasons to defeat "C" and "D"
by Douglas Bruce

I respond to an article by the governor:

Bill Owens's Half-Truths on Ref. C

And I provide an audio recording and written summary of a June 28 press conference sponsored by FreedomWorks:

Freedom Works; Ref. C Doesn't

The following article, from Boulder Weekly, discusses higher education:

Ref. C a blank check

The following two articles are available through the Grand Junction Free Press.

The true costs of Referendum C

Buescher's budget bluster and boondoggle

Wasteful Spending

While most of my work regarding wasteful state spending is included in the paper linked above, a number of articles provide additional information and detail. First is my explanation of the relevance of wasteful state spending:

State and Private Waste

I reply to critics concerning the pay-out schedules of corporate-welfare grants in an October 3 Speakout for the Rocky Mountain News:

Speakout: Report's author decries News story

Economist Lawrence McQuillan agrees that corporate welfare is a bad idea (October 13 update):

"Freedom Index" Economist Condemns Corporate Welfare

Next are several articles that pertain to corporate welfare and subsidies (note the two-part category):

Gresh Calls for Elimination of EDC [Economic Development Commission]

Corporate Welfare for Spyware Company?

And DoubleClick replies (October 28 update)...

DoubleClick Replies

Questions for Vogt about Corporate Welfare

State Constitution Prohibits Corporate Welfare

Budgets for Colorado's "Economic Development Programs" [2001 through 2005]

The next article is a short review of the problems with the state's "private prisons:"

'Private' Prisons Waste Money

What are the facts about "12 Dildos on Hooks?"

Ewegen Errs on Dildo Example

Also of relevance is an interview in Westword with the artist in question. Westword correctly reports about "Tsehai Johnson's 'Large Implements on Hooks' installation (otherwise known as 'Twelve Dildos on Hooks'), which had helped win her a $5,000 fellowship from the Colorado Council on the Arts in 2003." Westword asked Johnson, " Do you think the CCA understood your work when it awarded you the fellowship?" She replied, "Since this thing has come out, I looked up what I had in my application. As part of the process, they asked for a slide list, including a description of each of the slides, so I can read to you what I wrote about that piece: 'This series of large implements from last year could be viewed as related to erotic pleasures...' In the text, as I was describing the piece in question, it was very clear that there was sexual content to the work."

I review several problems with a state-sponsored "Online Poetry Project," which subjected school children to antiwar indoctrination, in an August 1 Speakout for the Rocky Mountain News:

Speakout: Spending tax money inappropriately

Next, I explain what happened with the premature release of my paper:

The Leaky Paper Caper

I also summarize the paper, Priority Colorado:

Legislators Should Cut Spending, Not Raise Taxes

The following two articles, from Boulder Weekly, discuss in greater detail two examples of wasteful spending.

Corporate welfare for Jesus

Dildo democracy

The following article is available through the Grand Junction Free Press.

You might be a spendthrift if...

Budget Forecasts

I discuss the latest economic forecasts in the following two articles:

Myth of the $365 Million Cut

New Forecast Shows Overall Budget Growth

I also wrote about the June forecasts of the same offices:

Myth of the $400 Million Cut

Henry Sobanet's Budget Games

See also "The Budget Battle" and "Answers to the $400 Million Question," linked in the next section.

The Colorado Budget

Following is extensive information on past and predicted state spending:

The Budget Battle

And what do all of those tax dollars fund? I look at the 2005-06 budget:

Colorado Budget Overview

Here's an interesting expense of over $7 million:

Taxpayers Fund Out-Of-State Students

The following article discusses Amendment 23 and Medicaid, among other things:

Answers to the $400 Million Question

I also discuss the Office of Self Sufficiency:

Budgetary Oddities

And I provide a number of documents regarding the Economic Development Commission and the Colorado Council on the Arts. To my knowledge, those hosted documents are not available anywhere else on the internet:

Colorado Budget Documents

Defending the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights

Bob Schaffer said, "Referenda C and D... are an assault on economic growth and prosperity" (October 16 update):

CUT Rates the Legislature

The following documents largely pertain to the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR).

The Ratchet Effect

Westminster Taxes Promote State Spending Hike

ACLU Attacks Liberty

TABOR Under Assault

CUT Hosts TABOR Meeting (photos)

Other Documents

These didn't fit in any other category...

Reactions to the Budget Deal
commentary by Ken Gordon and Mike Coffman

The TABOR Polls
by Mark Hillman and the Independence Institute

Author's Note

This web page is the central source of information about Referendum C published by the Colorado Freedom Report. The page -- created on October 10, 2005 -- will be updated as needed. I've conducted quite a lot of research about Referendum C and the Colorado budget. Indeed, few other sources contain as much information about Referendum C and related issues from a critical perspective (though of course important documents are also provided elsewhere).

Obviously, I was not able to research every detail pertaining to the budget and Referendum C. The Colorado budget for 2005-06, SB05-209, is 360 pages long. It contains hundreds upon hundreds of line-items, many of which encompass hundreds or even thousands of individual transactions. Total state spending is pegged at $14.61 billion this year. However, the budget contains some items that are double-counted, and, apparently, it also omits some items of state spending. Written by and for specialized bureaucrats, the budget is characterized by obscure jargon and arcane entries. In addition, two offices of state economists offer competing economic forecasts, each using their own assumptions and budgetary categories. The point is that, while the information contained here is extensive, it is not comprehensive; it does not explore every facet of state spending or every implication of Referendum C.

I believe the information and arguments offered here constitute a compelling case against Referendum C. Whether you agree with me or not, hopefully you will find in the material some useful facts and interesting analysis. -- Ari Armstrong, October 10, 2005

The Colorado Freedom