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How About Something Simple Like the Truth

How About Something Simple Like the Truth
Alan Cobb, Americans For Prosperity, Kansas

I had a great time visiting 23 cities across Kansas last week to promote the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). The number of supporters vastly outnumbered the opponents, but both sides had more folks come out than I ever imagined.

During the tour, several things became clear. While TABOR supporters offer hope and solutions to getting out of our economic slump, opponents offer nothing but nay-saying, scare tactics and misinformation.

In fact, the flagrantly dishonest information being spread is simply breathtaking.

Let’s remember all the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights does is allow Kansas voters to approve tax increases and spending increases above the rate of inflation plus population growth.

The purpose of TABOR is simple. Government should have to live within its means just as Kansas families and businesses do every day.

Opponents cite Colorado and make claims TABOR decimates the economy with few or no facts. The truth is Colorado has one of the strongest economies in America. How in the world Kansas’ Regents head Donna Shank could say that Colorado’s economy is “running on life support” makes one wonder.

Although Shank recently stated publicly she wanted to research the subject and ask “tough questions,” when she showed up at the American Dream Express bus stop in Liberal, she didn’t stay long enough for even an easy question. In fact, the short presentations made by myself, State Rep. Larry Powell and State Senator Tim Huelskamp didn’t elicit one question from Shank

For those unable to ask questions during our bus tour, below are myths and facts surrounding TABOR:

Myth: TABOR hurts the poor. Fact: Colorado’s poverty rate is lower than Kansas’
Myth: Thousands of teachers would be eliminated. Fact: Colorado has gained more than 11,000 teachers since 1994.
Myth: TABOR has hurt teachers in Colorado Fact: Colorado teachers are paid more than teachers in Kansas.
Myth: TABOR has devastated higher-ed in Colorado. Fact: U.S. News ranks the University of Colorado as the 78th best university in the country and ranks K.U. 97th. Colorado State was ranked 120th and K-State wasn’t ranked.

Kansas doesn’t have a state university among the best 120 masters-level universities in the county, and Colorado does.

Both K.U. and K-State have higher tuition than the Univ. of Colorado.

Myth: Colorado Gov. Owens wants to repeal TABOR. Fact: Gov. Owens has repeatedly stated he wishes Colorado’s TABOR was like Kansas’ TABOR.
Myth: Kansas government spending as a percent of income hasn’t changed over the last 30 years. Fact: State spending as a percent of income increased almost 50% over the last 30 years.
Myth: TABOR has devastated the Colorado economy. Fact: Prior to TABOR passing in Colorado in 1992, Kansas and Colorado’s economic growth was similar. From 1984 to 1992, Colorado ranked 43rd in median family income growth and Kansas ranked 48th. From 1992 to 2004, Kansas ranked 44th in family income growth and Colorado ranked 7th.

In 1980, Kansas per capita income rank was 16th, Colorado was 12th. By 2004, Kansas per capita income rank was 29th, Colorado was 8th.

From 1980 to 1992, Kansas ranked 43rd in productivity growth and Colorado ranked 26th. Colorado ranks 4th in productivity growth since 1992, Kansas ranks 37th.

Colorado ranks 1st in concentration of technology jobs, 2nd in number of new companies per capita, and 4th in estimated long-term job growth.

Let’s do a service to all interested in this debate and quit the ridiculous demagoguery.

There is a reason TABOR opponents have stooped to scare tactics in defense of the old “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. Scare tactics are what you use when you don’t have the facts on your side.

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