- August 6, 2023
Voters gave Colorado Democrats a decisive victory in this year’s state races, yet they also passed Independence Institute’s income tax cut by approving Proposition 121. While they elect left-of-center candidates, they continue to expect low taxes and fiscal restraint by their government. As recently as 2018, Republicans controlled the Colorado senate and served as aREAD MORE
Topline Summary: Under current law, the governor or executive branch officials can unilaterally allocate certain funds which originate from outside of the state—known as custodial funds—often with little or no oversight. Amendment 78 would democratize the process of allocating custodial funds by requiring the general assembly to appropriate such funds after a public hearing. IfREAD MORE
Do we really want to follow California’s disastrous abandonment of fiscal discipline?READ MORE
• County governments are the only legislative bodies in Colorado which are not subject to the people’s right of initiative and referendum.
• The people’s right of initiative and referendum was placed in Colorado’s Constitution in 1910 by a contentious Extraordinary Session of the Colorado General Assembly, followed by a popular vote of the people.
• Examination of the ratification history shows that application of the initiative and referendum powers to county governments seems not even to have been a subject of discussion.
• The taken-for-granted omission of county governments from the explicit reservation of the powers of initiative and referendum made sense in 1910, when counties were seen as purely administrative arms of the state government with no independent legislative powers or functions of their own.
• The nature and functions of county governments in Colorado have evolved a great deal since 1910; now, county governments manifestly exercise extensive independent legislative powers.
• In our state constitution’s structure, the only source of the county governments’ new and evolving legislative powers is the explicit or implicit delegation of power from the General Assembly; the General Assembly is, of course, subject to the people’s powers of initiative and referendum.
• The result is that if the General Assembly’s power is exercised directly, by the General Assembly itself, the exercise of that power is subject of the checks and balances of initiative and referendum. But strangely, if that same power is exercised secondhand, as when a county government exercises power delegated from the General Assembly, the exercise of the same power is not subject to the constitutional checks of balances of initiative and referendum.
• Thus, in terms of the original meaning of the constitutional amendment which created the initiative and referendum process, county governments are today operating without the appropriate opportunity for direct democracy to remedy legislative abuses or mistakes.
The longer a student stays in the Colorado public school system, the less likely he is to be proficient in math.READ MORE
Every once in a while, somebody writes a book that makes you want to tie complete strangers to a chair and hold the pages in front of them until the writing burns into their eye sockets. The Elephant in the Room is just such a book. Written by journalist Ryan Sager and released only last week, it’s required reading for anyone interested in the future of American politics.READ MORE