Monday, September 26, 2005

Delphi on the Battle over Ref. C. End of Sept. Edition.

Eric Sondermann, a local political analyst, wrote a great piece in Sunday's Denver Post. The thesis of his piece was that both sides were using overheated rhetoric in the debate over C. Ref. C won't kill TABOR, it will basically maintain the status quo. On the other side Ref. C won't even begin to fill the wish list for the "fiscal crisis" crowd. If it passes they will have a new fiscal crisis that needs to be solved in the fall of 2006.

An exerpt is available here:

These ballot proposals could be approved and yet neither the professed wishes of the proponents nor the desperate fears of the opponents are likely to be realized. Contrary to the proponents' implicit promise, the state's list of unmet needs would remain a lengthy one. Within months, there would be fresh talk of a "fiscal crisis" and impassioned calls for new revenue sources. Contrary to the opponents' claims about the magnitude of the "tax increase," these are essentially status quo measures that would maintain tax and spending at pre-recession levels.

A link to the piece is available here.

As far as the advertisements for and against C go, both sides appear to be lying.

The No on C side has been running ads saying that the average voter will forfeit $3,200 in tax refunds. That number seems to be in doubt:

Based on current estimates, the state would keep and spend an extra $3.7 billion over five years if Referendum C passes. The amount of money that most taxpayers would give up if Referendum C passes is $491, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Council.

Opponents of Referendum C, however, calculate that the average family of four would give up $3,200 in tax refunds.

To get that number, they divide $3.1 billion - another projection of the amount of money the state would keep if C passes - by the number of families.

But that approach assumes each taxpayer qualifies for every possible refund. The legislature has devised 12 special-interest tax breaks for things such as child care and business and capital-gains exemptions. No taxpayer qualifies for every refund.

In truth, the real number is probably somewhere in between. However, the Pro-C adds that accuse the anti-C side of lying about the $3,200 isn't really truthful itself.

In another commercial, the Pro-C side outright lies. Here is what the Denver Post had to say:

The message: Three years of recession have caused deep cuts to education that have hit kids hard. Substandard buildings, crowded classrooms and cuts to programs including preschool, kindergarten and Read to Achieve are the result.

Fact: Read to Achieve, which provides grants to help 2nd- and 3rd-graders who read below their grade level, was cut $11.9 million between fiscal year 2004-05 and 2005-06. Between 2003-04 and 2004-05, 2,000 kids were cut from the state's preschool program. But for 2005-06, money was restored to fund the 2,000 kids and add 1,310 more. In 2001-02, the state cut funding for unsatisfactory schools to send their half-day kindergartners to full-day programs. That funding was restored for 2005-06...Overall, K-12 funding increased between 2001 and 2004 because of Amendment 23, which requires the state to increase funding by student growth and inflation plus 1 percent every year.

Between 2001-02 and 2003-04, the total general fund money to the Education Department increased $149 million, from $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion.

When the Pro-C side says that "Three years of recession have caused deep cuts to education that have hit kids hard. Substandard buildings, crowded classrooms and cuts to programs" they aren't telling the truth.

You can link to the story here.

Tomorrow I'll have more links up. Stay tuned.


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