A Study of Colorado's TABOR Law and Its Influence on Public Finance During the 2001 Recession

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Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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https://digitalcommons.du.edu/etd/86; https://digitalcommons.du.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1085&context=etd
Brewer, Zak
Digital Commons @ DU
thesis / dissertation description
Colorado's constitutional Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) is a product of the citizen initiative process, a mechanism of direct democracy that allows citizens to circumvent legislatures and enact laws themselves. A prominent argument against this process is that such a mode of lawmaking can generate conflicts within state constitutions and bring about unintended consequences. This paper considers the Colorado state budget difficulties that arose during the 2001 recession, the relationship of TABOR and those difficulties, and finds that TABOR resulted in unintended consequences that were unforeseen by voters who approved the measure. Examples of these unanticipated, unintended consequences include: significant budget cuts for higher education, reductions in state mental health services, and insufficiencies within the TABOR law regarding how TABOR refunds were to be made.