Dueling “truth squads” sweltered in 90-degree heat on the steps of City Hall just before noon today, each determined to present their own spin on “Baby TABOR,” the Douglas Bruce authored City Charter amendment that, approved by local voters during 1991, preceded the eponymous statewide constitutional amendment.
A group led by Colorado Springs Independent Publisher John Weiss wants to ask voters to “tweak’ the amendment, eliminating its so-called “ratchet,” its restrictions on government growth and its refund provisions – retaining only the right for residents to vote on tax increases, which Weiss believes to be the essential component of the amendment.
A coalition of conservative groups, led by former Gazette editorial page editor Sean Paige, two-time congressional candidate Jeff Crank, retired state Sen. Andy McElhany and incumbent Councilman Darryl Glenn, oppose the proposal.
With fiery words, and dueling press releases, the two groups had it out before a sparse crowd. In an e-mail, Weiss fired the first round.
“While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, you cannot make up your own facts,” he wrote. “Paige and his pals’ punditry distorts the truth. It is time to stand up to these high-paid ideologues funded by millionaires.”
McElhany returned fire, telling the crowd that, “These changes to the city TABOR will not bring any immediate relief to the city, not for years to come.”
Glenn concurred. ”If we need to have a debate, then let’s have it,” he said. “Let’s not just try to wipe it out for no reason.”
One likely supporter of keeping the amendment as is was conspicuous by his absence: former County Commissioner/state Rep. Douglas Bruce.