As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Maria St. Louis-Sanchez reports, it’s back to jail scrubs for the author of the notorious 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), former GOP Rep. Doug Bruce:
Former state Rep. Douglas Bruce was taken from a courtroom in handcuffs after he was sentenced to at least two years in prison Friday.
Bruce, 66, was convicted in 2012 of tax evasion, filing a false tax return and trying to influence a public servant. Denver District Judge Sheila A. Rappaport ruled on Jan. 19 that he violated five terms of his probation…
“The probability of success on your probation is zero,” she told Bruce. “You were manipulative, you were deceitful, you lacked transparency and you tried to make a charade of probation.”
The profound irony of the author of TABOR, a sacrosanct law for Colorado Republicans due to its effect of severely constraining the legislature’s ability to raise revenue for necessary functions of government, becoming the state of Colorado’s highest-profile felony tax evader has…well, it’s never sat well with Republicans. They take great umbrage to anyone with the temerity to point out the stupefyingly obvious irony that the mastermind of TABOR is now a convicted felon tax evader.
The principal reason for this is that it’s not ironic at all. TABOR’s complex limits on revenue, stripping of power from the legislature to raise taxes, and (especially) the stilted requirements on the ballot questions needed to raise taxes combine to create a system that doesn’t work–where raising revenues for any purpose is nearly impossible. TABOR has created a system where the only way the state can take care of basic needs like roads and schools is through license fees, accounting gimmicks and weed money. Even with revenues growing in a booming economy, TABOR forces the state to refund money while years of budget cuts go unrestored.
That this intentionally dysfunctional system created by TABOR happens to align with Republican ideological goals of “drowning government in the bathtub” does not make it any less nefarious. But at the very least, as long as one side of our politics is devoted to upholding Bruce’s handiwork, they need to acknowledge the truth about TABOR’s creator.
Because his motives have never changed.