Rocky Mountain Facts
Norma Anderson is one of the politician-plaintiffs challenging Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights in federal court. The former Republican state senator claims the citizen-enacted measure, requiring a vote of the people to raise taxes, is unconstitutional. Why? It violates the legislature’s divine right to raise taxes without having to bother to obtain voter approval.
“We should eliminate the initiative to change the constitution,” she wrote in the bimonthly magazine of the Colorado Municipal League, “but continue the process for the statutes.”
Then, only the legislature would have the power to propose amendments — or, I should say, not propose amendments — like term limits or tax-and-spending limits.
Plus, legislators can repeal any statutory initiative they don’t like. That happened with campaign finance reform.
Anderson complains that Colorado’s “constitution has been amended repeatedly by initiative” and that all those amendments “have made it the wordiest and longest in the nation.”
No. Colorado doesn’t have the longest state constitution. Or the second longest. Or third or fourth or the fifth longest. Colorado’s ranks seventh in word count.
Moreover, the campaign finance measure noted above accounts for nearly 10 percent of the constitution’s verbiage.
Besides, most of the amendments to Colorado’s constitution have come from legislators, not through citizen-initiated petitions. Since voter initiatives began, roughly two-thirds, 63 percent, have come from the legislature.
Forget the facts, though, Anderson and her fellow politicians have had enough of popular government.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.