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Carl’s Conservative Corner

Have you heard of the Legislature’s Budget Stabilization Factor?

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Carl's Conservative Corner

Move on Along—BSF Nothing to See Here!

Don’t know about you, but I always wonder what really is the motivation  behind each ballot proposition we are asked to consider as voters. Now that Proposition HH is behind us (thankfully it was not approved!) the remaining question is this–Why is the Colorado Legislature so determined to increase taxes?  TABOR has a very simple requirement– voters must approve new taxes. What does the Legislature desire to fund without your approval?  Why is it that every tax increase proposed during the past decade  have been advertised to fix school funding and roads?–yet none of these have ever helped the problem?

Let me introduce you to the Budget Stabilization Factor.  TABOR allows for govt. spending to increase annually without asking for the voters approval to account for population increases and cost of living increases. In summary the actual purchasing power of the Colorado budget remains constant because of these annual adjustments.  As a result, the existing govt. services provided at the time of TABOR passage in 1992, can continue into the future even as the need for those services has grown (ie. population increase).

However, if additional new programs or services are added (by the legislature) the total available budget $ must then be shared between the existing programs and the new programs.

In short–even though there is no provision for new program funding, this HAS NOT STOPPED the Legislature from continuing to approve new programs during each legislative session.  Consequently, existing programs HAVE experienced and WILL continue to experience budget deductions.

How does this Work? The Joint Budget Committee (comprised of members from both parties, and from both State House and State Senate) are tasked each budget year to determine how much is to be deducted from each existing program to fund the new programs.  The deduction applied to k-12 education is called the Budget Stabilization Factor. For all other govt. programs, the annual deduction is determined by the Joint Budget Committee.

You might be thinking “the BSF can’t amount to all that much–can it?”  Here is the effect it has had on school funding for my local West Grand School District. For 2009 thru 2023 budgets (14 years) West Grand received $5,384,339 less than was authorized by the Colorado Department of Education–essentially equal to ONE FULL YEAR of funding!   Statewide the reduction has been $10,007,604,363 for K-12 education. That’s right B as in Billion!

Find out the impact to your school district at:  14-years-BSF-6.2022.pdf (cosfp.org)

Thus we face the never ending request for more tax increases and declining levels of govt. service.  The “This is a great idea–let’s pass this new bill” mentality MUST change.  The Colorado Legislature MUST learn to prioritize and live WITHIN it’s budget just as we all have to do.  It is WAY past time for you to demand that your legislators act as responsible adults.  Please think seriously about this as we enter the 2024 election year and everyone is clamoring for your vote and beating their chest about what a great job they have done.  Remember YOU are the one who decides if the status quo is ok!  It is sure NOT OK by me!

FYI Here is a history of the State Budget under TABOR.  Not exactly a “Woe is Me” story is it?

 

 

 

 

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