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January 11, 2012 06:14 PM UTC

Beating Arveschoug-Bird's Dead Horse

  • 12 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

Noted by the Colorado Statesman’s Peter Marcus in a list of Republican legislative priorities:

Reinstating the 6 percent government spending limit that Democrats eliminated in 2009. Reps. Don Beezley, R-Broomfield, and Brian DelGrosso, R-Loveland, are sponsoring that piece of controversial legislation. McNulty views the proposal as a way to tighten controls on amounts that exceed the 6 percent cap. Fifty percent of funds above that limit would be allocated to a state reserve fund that could only be accessed by a two-thirds majority vote of the House and Senate. The remaining 50 percent would be split equally between transportation and capital construction.

Republicans attempted to reinstate the spending cap last year, but Democrats, who control the Senate, killed the legislation. Democrats argue that the spending limit is “arbitrary” and that such a mandate ties the hands of government to fund necessary state services such as education.

Ferrandino said a spending limit might become an even stickier issue following a recent Denver District Court decision that the state’s school finance system violates constitutional funding guarantees and is being underfunded by estimates of more than $4 billion per year. That case is currently being appealed. While Republicans call the spending limit “responsible budgeting,” Ferrandino said it would actually put the state in a more difficult position.

“It’s exactly the opposite; it’s irresponsible budgeting,” said Ferrandino. “We would never be able to make up for the cuts… if they pass that law.”

As was the case last year when a similar attempt to undo the 2009 repeal of the obscure but consequential Arveschoug-Bird spending growth limit, it would first be necessary to be in a situation where further spending cuts, on top of years of such cuts, are no longer necessary for it to matter. The fact is, especially given the long-term fiscal problems the state is projected to face, and looming major challenges in the pending Lobato court case on education funding, you pretty much couldn’t pick a more out-of-touch idea to spend precious legislative time on.

So naturally, here we go.

Comments

12 thoughts on “Beating Arveschoug-Bird’s Dead Horse

    1. (If you’re too young to know what that is, Google it!)  We bought the used car for $50 — it was large and out of date — and the automatic gear shift consisted of push buttons in the middle of the steering wheel.  Eventually the only gear that worked was “reverse,” which of course reminds me of a certain political party.

      We sold the car – that could only go in reverse – for $50.

       

    2. but at least we don’t have anyone like this Kansas state legislator.  At least not one stupid enough to go public with it.

      This from an e-mail I received from a progressive faith group:

      You might be surprised to hear that Mike O’Neal, the Republican Speaker of the Kansas State House, is praying for President Obama.

      Unfortunately, he’s praying for the president’s death. And he’s exploiting the Bible to do so, circulating an email that quotes Psalm 109: “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.” O’Neal said of the violent Psalm “At last — I can honestly voice a Biblical prayer for our president.”

      One more reason to feel blessed to be living in Colorado.  Even our most awful GOP legislators are either not this awful or have the sense not to flaunt it.

      Bet this guy considers himself a great Christian conservative, too.

         

    1. I don’t think any honest Democrat or independent here completely discounts that some of the ideas coming from some GOP representatives are in line with what their constituents want.  It is, at least to me, disturbing that they want to reinstate A-B, but I don’t discount that they might want it.

      Of course, I also don’t discount that the reason that they support ideas like this is because they’ve been fed bad information by conservatives for years on end.  Reinstating Arveshoug-Bird is patently stupid; no corporation would ever set an arbitrary limit on their ability to spend money when needed – it’s not good business sense.  If you need to spend money at a certain point in time, then that’s when you spend it, unless you don’t have it and can’t justify borrowing it.

        1. Example for the homeowner:

          I normally spend $50,000 per year in general expenses for my household, $45,000 of which are necessary and $5,000 discretionary.

          One year I have an uninsured repair on my house that absolutely needs to be done (say I need to re-roof unexpectedly, and it’s going to cost me $15,000).  I will be spending at least 20% over my normal household budget – hopefully from savings, but if I have to I’ll borrow, because not repairing the roof would mean much worse damage in the future – or rain coming in to my bedroom at night.

          If I was the state, I wouldn’t be able to save up enough to pay for the roof, and even if I got enough extra money in income for the year (continuing the metaphor, say I got a big bonus check), the Republicans who want to reinstate A-B wouldn’t let me spend it.  When I went to my family to see if they agreed with the need to borrow to replace the roof, almost half of them would suggest either that rain in the bedroom was healthy, or that we should cut back to two meals a day and my wife should quit her job to save on gas (despite the fact that her income is more than the amount spent on gas).  If I managed to get past this faction of people who are in denial, I would then have to put it up to a vote by my extended family, but they wouldn’t be able to vote on it for at least a half a year, and they’d be told by those same deniers (and their friends) that we were already making enough money and that if we couldn’t fix the roof with what we already made, then perhaps we shouldn’t be living in the house (ability to repay in 3 years not withstanding…).

  1. As someone who spent more than a little of my free time working to repeal this law in the first place, I certainly don’t want to see it, or anything like it, put back into place.

    I would encourage CPols and others on this site not to use their messaging on this issue. AB was not a spending limit, in that it did not cap the amount the state could spend.

    What it did was cap the amount the state could spend on specific departments (those not called “Transportation”), including education.

    So don’t call it a spending limit, call it what it is, a diversion of much needed funds without the benefit of legislative discretion.

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