The editorial piece from the Colorado Economic Futures Panel certainly started with the wrong assumption-“one state with a relatively consistent taxing and spending structure…” That is most certainly not what we have, nor what we should seek.
I would submit to you, and to members of that Uber-Panel that our tax structures resemble nothing more nor less than a market-based solution to taxing and spending decisions.
Yes, indeed, government has its own form of markets, with stalls for income tax, property tax, special districts, equalization formulae and those damned constitutional amendments. But is it all bad?
Let’s consider El Paso County’s 0.1 percent sales tax for trails and open space acquisitions.
This tax was passed by the people of this county to fund an investment that they deemed important.
The taxing policy that was applied here was a clear market choice by this community.
Other regions may place a higher value on mass transit, libraries or emergency medical services. What is wrong with that?
There is no reason to conclude, as the panel apparently has, that the fiscal structure is “overly complex and hopelessly intertwined.”
Moreover, there is no logical reason why the panel could not determine exactly how much Mr. Groswald pays for education. It is just math.
The University of Denver, no doubt, has a few graduate students who could develop a scorecard so that taxpayers could make these calculations for themselves, regardless of their taxing entities. That would be useful.
I would suggest that the biggest problems with public finance in Colorado stem from the desire to control and simplify tax policy, “from border to border.” Can you say, “Doug Bruce?”
It seems that the lure of broad strokes and over-simplified solutions has no antidote.
The Colorado Economic Futures Panel is probably already infected.
As a business owner, I know that most functioning systems are complex. It is the simple “solutions” that cost the most.
We should not expect government to be any different.