Voters rejected Proposition CC by about the same percentage that Jared Polis won his governorship. The message that sends might be: “Yeah, we like you Jared, but we don’t trust you. Nothing personal. We liked the last guy too, and we didn’t trust him with more of our money either.”
As much as the tax-spending coalitions and Colorado’s press hate our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, voters love it more than ever. A recent poll by Baselice and Associates showed around 70% of voters support the constitutional amendment after it was described to them.
The proponents of Prop CC, like everyone in the TABOR-bashing industrial complex, detest the voter consent guaranteed by TABOR, and seem oblivious to why taxpayers demand consent.
How out of touch? In progressive, Trump-loathing, mushroom-legalizing Denver, a whopping 75.3% voted for Hillary, but only 65% voted against TABOR refunds via Prop CC. Meaning some on the left might be closet TABOR lovers, presumably living in fear they could be outed.
A higher percentage of people voted to protect TABOR in this election (over 55%) than when it was originally passed in 1992 (less than 54%). More and more, people understand that the government should not grow unchecked.
The ultra-progressive legislative session of 2019 that created the ill-fated Prop CC can be described by one word — hubris. Lawmakers seem to think the entire state is like Boulder and Denver. Given our governor, attorney general, speaker of the house, senate majority leader and secretary of state all hail from Boulder, where voter sanctioned taxation is loathed in favor of trust in the elite, we shouldn’t be surprised.
The recent election proved that despite what the elites may think, the whole state of Colorado hasn’t turned into Boulder just yet.
Prop CC caused something else that could become a worry for the left. For the first time in a long while, we on the right actually worked together.
If you’re not familiar with Caldara’s First Political Axiom, you’ll find it to be a truism — there is nothing Republicans can’t #*@$ up.
This axiom explains how the ugly primary fight between Bob Beauprez and Marc Holtzman allowed Bill Ritter to waltz into the governor’s mansion, and how the Dan Maes fiasco gave it to Hickenlooper, among endless other examples.
The word that alludes conservatives and libertarians in Colorado is “addition.”
Politics is the art of addition. While the left comes together all the time to take more of what we earn, the right doesn’t naturally work as a team. We believe in the individual after all.
But we at the Independence Institute, the organization I run, saw the threat to TABOR early this year and knew to defeat it we needed addition. We asked all the groups and individuals who might work against the threat to sing off the same sheet music. And sing they did.
I’ve been doing this work for a long, long time, and I can say this campaign against Prop CC was one of the best-coordinated efforts we collectively on the right have ever conducted. A great rock band was created.
Think of just some of the folks that made up this all-star band. My executive vice president, Amy Cooke, worked hand-in-hand with Michael Fields of Colorado Rising Action to form our long-term battle plan. Jesse Mallory and all his foot soldiers at Americans for Prosperity hit the doors, mailboxes, and airways. Michelle Lyng and Novitas Communications kept everyone on message. Laura Carno and Springs Taxpayers rallied southern Colorado. Luke Ragland and Ready Colorado added their considerable voice. The Colorado Republican Party exercised its machinery. The Centennial Institute at CCU mobilized along with the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, the TABOR Foundation, and TABOR author Douglas Bruce.
Every rock band needs some impressive vocals. We had the best. Former Gov. Bill Owens and former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown passionately explained how Prop CC was nothing like Ref C some 14 years ago. University of Colorado Regents Heidi Ganahl, Chance Hill, and Sue Sharkey dared to say not everyone in higher ed wants to tax you more. All but one Republican state legislator joined the chorus. District Attorney George Brauchler was relentless in his defense of our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights while former state treasurers Walker Stapleton and Mark Hillman lent their names and gravitas as co-chairs of the issue committee.
Together they broke Caldara’s First Political Axiom.
So, can they do it again for Cory Gardner?
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.