The Definitive TABOR Thread, for Muhammad Miguel Ali Hasan

Miguel Ali posted this on one of the recent Doug Bruce threads:

“I stand by my mentor, Douglas Bruce

I believe him when he says he’s innocent and I proudly support his appeal  

TABOR4LIFE”

Now, Miguel Ali has made some huge political strides in the past few years, rejecting the faction of the GOP that is racist, anti-immigrant, and homophobic. For that, I give him all of the credit in the world. M. Ali is also known around here for being polite — a characteristic this former preschool teacher finds refreshing. (Mrs. Hasan — great job!) I struggle to understand, however, how M. Ali has gotten so far as a “political insider” without fully understanding the horrific financial impact TABOR has made on the state of Colorado.

I’m wondering if in the spirit of free public education, for M. Ali’s benefit, and for the benefit of all of the Pols readers and lurkers we don’t know, we could have an intelligent thread about why TABOR is such a nightmare. I’d like to hear from our Polsters how different people have seen the effects in different ways around the state. There are a number of knowledgeable people here who could do a much better job explaining it than I can. Anyone else want to start, or should I?

And to M. Ali — I suspect we’ll all learn from an honest and respectful exchange. I hope you’re cool with this.

About nancycronk

"Let's bring integrity back to the political process." President, Progressive Women of Colorado, Candidate for House District 37

32 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. nancycronk says:

    M. Ali — I am curious to know if you read any of the materials coming out of the Bell Policy Center, a respected, nonpartisan agency that has spent years studying TABOR? Bell offers quality scientific research to the public about TABOR. Here is a summary from one of their pages:

    …our research also points to structural flaws in the amendment that have seriously impaired the state’s ability to set budgetary and program priorities and respond to crises, such as the recession of 2001-03. In short, TABOR has created a state government that is hamstrung by inflexible rules that make it unresponsive and less effective.

    The Bell’s research experts spent years studying the impact of TABOR on Colorado’s budget and its programs, particularly those that are in place to increase opportunity for Colorado residents. The result was a pair of highly acclaimed reports that set the stage for the success of Ref C and for permanent budget reform.

    You can find a summary of their ten year study here: http://bellpolicy.org/node/3064

  2. Car 31 says:

    But, you’re not going to change Hasan’s mind.

    Your struggle about understanding

    how M. Ali has gotten so far as a “political insider”

    comes down to money and influence. His family has money and Ali is a film maker with an outgoing personality. He also loves to contribute money.

    Money.

    Personality.

    Generosity.

    All the factors you need to be an influential political donor.

    Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your views, he’ll never make a viable political candidate.

    But, keep giving the D’s your money, Ali!  

    • I don’t want to defend the idea that I’m a “political insider” but I remain deeply proud of these facts –

      1. I was one of the top public defenders of the NYC Mosque in the Summer of 2010 – this included frequent appearances on Fox News and the Huffington Post. It resulted in death threats, but I make no apologies for my opinions.

      (NOTE: I did not have to give money in order to be on Fox News and HuffPo – I just had to be willing to take arrows)

      2. I was one of the first American-Muslims to openly endorse Gay Marriage back in 2005, where I wrote for the Muslim blogs of Naseeb.com and MuslimWakeup.com – at the time, the American Muslim community was uniting against Gay Marriage and I was one of the first American Muslim activists (coming off the heels of starting Muslims For Bush) to endorse Gay Marriage and curb the anti-gay tide that was growing amongst the American Muslim community – today, most American Muslim groups support Gay Marriage – I can’t take full credit for it, but I was proudly on the front in 2005.

      (NOTE: I did not have to give money in order to become an active voice amongst American Muslims in 2005 and support Gay Marriage – I was simply willing to take arrows)

      3. I have been a regular political commentator on the Dennis Miller show of CNBC, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, and Fox News – most of these appearances were because I started and ran Muslims for Bush, but they were also, partially, because I was willing to speak out as an American Muslim, shortly after the tragic 9/11 attacks.

      (NOTE: I did not have to give money in order to become a political commentator. I was simply willing to take arrows for what I believed in)

      4. My latest political venture, http://www.constitutionalistsforgaysandimmigrants.com, is another passion of mine – making constitutional arguments in support of gay marriage and amnesty for undocumented immigrants. These are the two latest causes I want to take arrows for.

      (NOTE: Again, I don’t need money in order to take arrows for undocumented immigrants and our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community)

      5. Lastly, if I am an “insider” in Colorado politics, it’s a result of knocking on over 20,000 doors when I ran for office in 2008 and 2010. I’ve heard from voters and I can say, with confidence, what the people are like – nothing gives me a platform, locally, more than the grassroots work I’ve done.

      CAR, you are welcome to accuse me of being wealthy, having rich parents, etc, but I am personally insulted that you would say that any prominence given to my opinion is a result of money – I have the experience of knocking on more than 20,000 doors, and more importantly, as written above, I have a sustained history of “taking arrows.”

      Anyone can give money – but true respect is given when people know you are (and will continue) to take arrows.

      I take arrows for what I believe in.

      • I am now an Interfaith Practitioner.  

      • Car 31 says:

        Relax.

        Are you not wealthy? Is your family not wealthy?

        If I’m mistaken, tell me. No accusations there.

        I’m not sure why you’re so defensive.

        What I said was, simply,

        Money.

        Personality.

        Generosity.

        All the factors you need to be an influential political donor.

        Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your views, he’ll never make a viable political candidate.

        Am I wrong?

        If you think knocking on 20,000 doors and having your hat handed to you twice gets you respect, okay.

        I’ll tell you what though, $5.00 says the picture you got with Speaker Pelosi in her office grinning ear to ear wasn’t because you knocked on 20,000 doors and got your ass kicked in the elections as a Republican.

        With all due respect Ali, if I went out and knocked on that many doors, put in the showing you did, switched parties and knocked on Boehner’s door, I wouldn’t get that kind of reception.

        Also, if you think ‘taking arrows’ is a badge of courage or way to respect, okay. Last I checked, ‘taking arrows’ in politics may be good for getting your name out there to the media but it stinks if you’re serious about being a candidate.

        The fact that you have progressive views on some things does not mitigate the fact that your fiscal views seem to be 100% Republican.

        So good job on all the things you listed above. That’s apparently why Cronk thinks you’re cool and wrote a diary for you. And pardon me for chiming in, I know you’re a darling of D’s now that you’ve switched parties.

        But, while I admire and appreciate your social beliefs, I disagree with and think your fiscal beliefs are dangerous to the state and fall in line with the same fiscal ideology of the narrow minded, short sighted schmucks that contributed in a major way to the shit hole we find ourselves in today.  

        • Car – I appreciate your compliments

          Ultimately, I still politely disagree with your assessment, in that, money is a very secondary reason, as to why my opinions are given any credence – I will agree that it’s a factor, but people know I go ‘all out’ for the causes I take on – that’s what carries the biggest stick with any opinion I have – and for that matter, I wouldn’t have it any other way

          • nancycronk says:

            I appreciate Ali’s opinion because of his international perspective and because he is genuinely a nice man.

            I see a huge difference between social conservatism and fiscal conservatism, and sometimes cannot believe how the two exist within the same political party. I love picking the brains of Republicans, Libertarians and Independents who are social progressives but not on the same page as you and I, Car 31, about TABOR. During the Civil Unions debate, I really enjoyed hanging out in the hallways of the Capitol talking to Young Republicans, for that reason.

            I agree with you, Car 31, that TABOR has wasted a lot of taxpayer money by going to voters with many decisions that could be, and should be handled, much more efficiently by our elected representatives. Instead of taxpayer money going to schools and necessary government programs and capitol improvements, it is wasted in overhead getting things on ballots and/or returning extra pennies to voters.

            If I sent my kid to the grocery store, and he had to drive home between purchasing every single item to ask, “If this what you wanted, Mom?”, it would be a waste of his time, as well as my own — not to mention gas money. I empower him to get a whole bag of groceries at the same time, trusting him to make those decisions. Our elected officials are there to make those smaller decisions for us — by asking them to “run home in between” to ask our permission for things they should be empowered to do themselves, is incredibly wasteful, in my eyes.

            • nancycronk says:

              I should add I am aware you changed parties, although you have many friends in both. That’s why asking you these questions makes sense — to explain to me the thinking on “the other side”. I don’t have the patience to read the conservative political blogs to understand how they see fiscal policy because the racism, sexism, and ethnocentricism I’d have to sort through makes me livid.

              And please forgive me for the “M. Ali”, vs. “Ali”. I remember at one time you wanted to be called “Miguel Ali”, and for awhile, I did that. I see others calling you “Ali”, so I am a bit confused. Please let me know which you prefer.

              • I don’t mind being called anything, as long as its done out of affection :)

                “Ali” is just fine though ;)

                As far as how ‘conservatives’ view TABOR… it goes to an issue of liberty – most conservatives want to put as many restrictions on government as possible, because doing so keeps the government from growing too large, thus, harming individual liberty – after all, a government that is ‘too large’ will require massive amounts of capital, which if taken away from the people, will reduce their liberty and pursuits and “happiness”

                I would say that’s the usual ‘conservative’ opinion on the issue

                • nancycronk says:

                  good government increases efficiencies that everyone wants and needs (roads, schools, bridges, fire protection, police protection, a reasonable sized defense system, etc.)

                  Exactly which year did government become the bogeyman? 1980ish?

                  • I am not the definitive source on this question, but my personal opinion suggests 1976-1980

                    The Liberal/Keynes side will always quote FDR’s administration as a time when government spurred job creation (I personally don’t believe that and I think it had more to do with war than FDR)

                    Reagan was really the first man who argued against that “Keynesian” notion and fought for the private sector – of note, what made Reagan special was that he came from an impoverished background – whatever money he made was self-made, not inherited – in turn, he really was the perfect spokesperson for limited government, because he could immediately squash suggestions that he was unsympathetic to the poor

                    The fact that Reagan could articulate the anti-Keynes argument better than any predecessor before him, is why the GOP has made it a staple issue since then – they were without a spokesperson for quite a long time

                  • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

                    moment, RE your question, I think it was the speech where Reagan said, “government isn’t the solution to the problem, government IS the problem”.

                    That articulated the “free market” point of view exactly. The gub’mint ain’t supposed to do nothin’ but pay the army, the police, and settle disputes between corporations.

                    The late Milton Friedman, the economics professor from Chicago and high priest of the “Free Market”, has disciples all over the world. They are mostly Dominionists and they are also trying to hasten Armageddon, if they can.

                    They are batshit crazy. Driven insane by their religious convictions.

                     

  3. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    The problem with people who actually genuinely believe in something, rather than adhering to a particular set of opinions for political expediency, is that their minds are a lot harder to change. This would be like him starting a thread with the purpose of convincing Nancy Cronk that women are second-class citizens. (Not that he’d do that or believes that, but you are as genuinely feminist as he is genuinely in favor of TABOR.)

    Not to discourage the tilting at this windmill, though… if you manage to get him to come around I’ll throw you a party myself!

    • nancycronk says:

      Viable political candidates? Before 2007, I never would have believed we’d have an A-A President named Barack Hussein Obama — a mixed race guy with a liberal religious background who grew up the child of a single Mom — but some other hopelessly optimistic people convinced me it was possible. Guess I’ll believe anything’s possible now.

      On a very, very tiny scale, if you asked me growing up if my parents, a Dad who lost his hearing at 12 in an accident and quit school because there was no Special Education at the time, would raise 9 children on a factory worker’s salary, and some of them would put themselves through college, and one of them through the most expensive public school in the country at the time, I probably wouldn’t have believed that, either. But it happened.  

      Two recent graduates in Aurora make me believe in miracles, too. One of them, a great kid we’ll call JR, grew up moving constantly with his single Mom who was a drug addict. JR never knew his bio Dad. Mom died two years ago from an overdose.

      The second kid, we’ll call Pete, is half Latino, half African-American, financially struggling, and gay. His Dad has been on disability a long time. Both of these amazing kids not only did well in school, but they were scholars and athletes. They volunteer in their communities, and they are thankful for what they have. Both just won full-ride Daniel’s Fund scholarships. I thank G-d every day I know them, because they inspire me constantly.

      Yeah, I believe in miracles. Believing M. Ali might change his mind on TABOR someday is nothing in comparison. M. Ali is a good man. I believe he’ll come around eventually.

      Looking forward to the party, PCG. So, M. Ali, have you checked out the link yet?

      • Lemme just say –

        1. I spent a year and a half as a public school tyro-teacher in East LA.

        2. I have knocked on over 20,000 doors in Colorado as a political candidate.

        Both of these experiences have made me a BIGGER supporter of TABOR than less of one. A few reasons –

        1. I am a PRO-LIBERTY Democrat, in the vein of Lyndon Johnson, John Kennedy, Alexander Hamilton, and Marquis Lafayette. When I support liberty, I have to remain consistent, which is why I believe people should keep as much of their money as they can, and under as many circumstances as possible, the government should ‘ask permission’ before spending the people’s money.

        2. TABOR forces our politicians to be more creative and more articulate on the programs they want to spend money for – why is that a bad thing?

        3. I’m not anti-tax – certainly, the state needs money – but why not get the permission of the people first? Doing so will probably create more efficient programs, that rely less on money, and more on creative design – and of note, creative design will solve the public education problems of this country far more than money (and I say that as a former public school tyro-teacher).

        4. When I knocked on doors, I never had an impoverished voter tell me “My life would be so much better if rich people just paid more.” The thing I heard most frequently at doorsteps that seemed to be struggling with poverty? (paraphrase) “Ali, please get jobs created. The more jobs that will be out there, the more chance I’ll have at making a good living.”

        (note: I believe the private sector is a finer job creator than the public sector, and yes, unlike Warren Buffet, I subscribe to Milton, not Keynes – keeping money in people’s pockets will create more jobs than government collection)

        TABOR is a hallmark issue for anyone who is pro-liberty.  

        • nancycronk says:

          I apologize for the fact you have to defend yourself here. People may feel whatever they feel about those who come from wealthy backgrounds, but money has nothing to do with who I personally admire and who I don’t. I have wealthy friends and I have poor friends. I don’t suck up to anyone, or avoid anyone, based on their bank account.

          That said, you are obviously a political player in Colorado for all of the reasons you stated above, PLUS the fact you continue to keep an open mind. People listen to you, and anyone who doesn’t know that, doesn’t follow your social media or your traditional media presence. Chalk it up to they don’t know what they don’t know.

          I admire your courage to change parties. I changed parties myself once (although it was a very, very long time ago). I also appreciate that you have the courage to take arrows for your beliefs. Although I am 99% aligned with the Dem party, there have been times I did not agree with the talking points, and said so, so I get it.

          Re: education, you and I are very much on the same page, M. Ali. You know that. That’s one of the many reasons I care about what you think about other issues. Add to that the interfaith practitioner stuff, and believe it or not, we have a lot in common.

          I do appreciate your explanation about what pro-liberty means to you. It’s not an explanation I have heard before. When I hear the phrase pro-liberty, I think “Keep the government out of my bedroom and out of my doctor’s office, and keep the state out of my personal religious expression”. On those things we agree, right?

          As a liberal, the notion that taxes imposed by the government is anti-liberty is completely foreign to me. I see taxes as my fair share — the dues I choose to pay to belong to this community, since I do have a choice to be an American citizen or to go somewhere else. My family is a very middle class family, struggling to find a way to pay for our kid’s college, but even if we were on the bottom end or the top end of the socio-economic scale, I think I would view taxes the same way.

          I need analogies, so please bear with me. If I plan an event with my extended family — a family reunion, say — we would divvy up the costs. If the tent at the park costs $100 bucks and the food $200 and the shirts $100, we’d split the $400 between everyone who planned it. It would be my fair share of being a member of the family. (And yes, members of my family do charge less to the people who are unemployed or underemployed, while family members who have better jobs gladly kick in a little more).

          When I pay my taxes, I am paying my fair share as a member of a much larger family — for schools, for roads, for bridges, for government services, etc. With the exception of the military budget, some corporate breaks and some religious institution breaks/incentives, I mostly agree with where my tax money share goes, and I am proud to pay it. Paying taxes is what makes us civilized — when each pays our fair share, we are saying, “I believe in the greater good” which can only be achieved when we all come together. Are we on the same page, so far? I suspect we are.

          Everyone has objections to some piece of a governmental budget. For every person like me who thinks the military’s piece of the pie is obscenely large, there is someone else who thinks too much goes to helping indigent children and the elderly. Another might think all roads should be toll roads, or whatever. Part of the agreement of living in this country is we all have to suck it up sometimes, knowing the entire community can’t be happy 100% of the time. Being a citizen here means agreeing that we’ll go along with what the majority of the people think is important, even when we may disagree on the finer points (incidentally, our legal system works the same way — an idea I have had to explain to my teenagers more than once).

          Do I demand the right to say where my tax money goes, and how much of it I should have to pay? Hell, yeah! I am no different than you. I hate it every time I read some huge new war plane could have built 30 schools, or something like that. Like you, I call my legislators a fair amount and tell them, “Please vote for this, or against that”.

          Like you, I also believe in fiscal responsibility. I’m the first one in my commmunity to go to neighborhood meetings and ask, “Does the fire department/school board/recreation board/library board, etc., really need __(fill in the blank)___? What is the benefit?”

          Where you and I differ, Ali, is the understanding about whether or not the state has my permission to spend my fair share of the tax money or not. According to TABOR, every single decision that is made about taxes should be made by the voters. To me, that is micro-managing, and is completely antithetical to the notion of small government. Each time decisions like that have to be made, it costs overhead. You wouldn’t hire a CEO to run a company you own, and then micro-manage every decision the CEO made, would you? How productive would they be if you did? How much financial overhead would be added to the cost of doing business if every decision required a separate presentation to your CEO and to you?

          Our elected representatives in the state legislature are our employees. They work for us. They are charged with making those day-to-day difficult financial decisions, and they are obligated to do their homework before they do. If they’re bad at it, we fire ‘em.

          So, when you say, “The government should “ask permission’ before spending the people’s money”, I’d argue they do. I’d argue that I hired them to make those decisions for me. Why? Because it is too costly and too cumbersome for them to ask me (and othe voters) to second-guess every single decision they make.

          Last, when you say the economy is stronger when more people have their own money in their pockets, I could not agree more! That’s why I believe in good government. Back to the analogy of planning a family reunion with extended family members, if my brother who knows beer buys the beer, and I order the food cause as a Mom I’m great at pinching pennies, and my sister finds the tent because she’s a great shopper, we all come out ahead financially, compared to if we all had to bring our own tent, our own beer, our own food, and our own (whatever — fill in the blank). Buying in bulk, having each person do what they do best, and working together means MORE EFFICIENCIES, not less. Good government of a reasonable size is better than a too-small government that is not efficient. (The worst idea, by the way, is if for every decision we wanted to make, we had to take a photo of what we were buying and then send it to my Mom to approve it.)

          M. Ali — I hope you are not offended by my overly simplified analogy. It’s simplified for my sake, not yours. I confess I have read neither Milton nor Keynes in decades, and hated reading them when forced to do so in school. I would be willing to go back and learn more out of my respect for you, my friend.

          Also, in regard to what people say at doors, I have heard both statements you mentioned. I have heard people say, “We need more jobs” and I’ve heard “Why am I paying more in taxes than big corporations/ I’m drowning here”.

          The idea that if the rich keep more of the money through flat taxes or bigger loopholes, they will create more jobs, has been disproven by many reputable studies. I know how much you loved and admired Ronald Reagan, but “trickle down economics” has been disproven by science many times over. It doesn’t work. In fact, if you want to stimulate the economy, you put more money in the hands of a greater number of people through strengthening unions, having minimum wage laws, etc. I am no financial expert, but there are many leading economists who have published papers saying these things, including Paul Krugman, who happened to win a Nobel Prize.

          I must like you, M. Ali, to even think about studying a little economics again so I can dialogue with you (I hated taking it the first time)!

          In friendship, Nancy

          • nancycronk says:

            I believe Doug Bruce believes he is innocent.  

          • Car 31 says:

            I apologize for the fact you have to defend yourself here.

            You wrote this diary Cronk, not Ali. You brought him up in regards to TABOR. And now you’re surprised when some of us bother to reply to your diary with our own opinions?

            My opinion of Ali stands. He’s a great guy that deserves respect for his accomplishments in life and his social stances.

            His stance on TABOR is hairbrained and 100% contrary to the Democratic platform and it is my opinion that Ali’s money contributed significantly to his polical connections. It isn’t a bad thing, money and political connections is what it is. Jesus, lighten up both of you.

            I think that Ali went Dem because he could influence politics within a political party. IMHO, if he wanted to be ‘true’ to his beliefs, he would have gone Independent to show others how a socially liberal fiscally conservative individual operates.

            He didn’t, fine. My opinion is just that.

            I’ve read and followed Ali for years. I followed his campaign(s). The fact that he knocked on a lot of doors, well, good job.

            He got his ass kicked, twice.

            He got his ass kicked twice because he has some hairbrained views on TABOR, among other things.

            A lot of people get their asses kicked in politics. A lot of those people have money. A lot of them continue to influence politicians with their money.

            That’s the way it is.

            So take your self righteous attitude to some other place if you don’t like what others have to say when you invite them to comment on a diary you wrote.

          • And I love that we share a common bond on education – if I do ever run for office again, it’s because I feel that I can make a much bigger impact on education than many others

            Regarding TABOR – we can take this discussion in a plethora of different ways, debating about what economic goverance is better than the other

            Ultimately, as I said above, the biggest reason I like TABOR is because –

            Not every problem can be solved with money.

            It’s a trigger reaction to throw money at every new problem in the world and education is a primary example

            As you know, Nancy, I’m a firm believer that the best thing we can do for our education system is to change the way we train our teachers – to spend that precious training time teaching them how to facilitate classrooms that involve multiple intelligence learning, cooperative learning, and project based learning – initiatives that really don’t need money, but rather, an institutional change in the way we think and conduct policy

            By having to ask people permission for higher taxes, our legislators are put in the following, pyschological position:

            1. They must ‘market’ their ideas to the voters – doing so forces them to bring the best out of their ideas and truly make it worth everyone’s while – it will probably give them a better understanding of what they are championing

            2. Having to fight for an idea means that the budget will be smaller – if someone truly wants to get an idea passed, they’ll do everything possible to make it viable, and constricting the budget is one example

            3. When faced with constraints (and I know this as an artist) one is forced to get creative – TABOR forces our legislators to find, research, and study every way possible to get an idea implemented, in the simplest way possible

            For those reasons above, especially in regard to how it forces creativity amongst legislators, I think TABOR is terrific

            One luxury we have in the United States is that, if one state comes up with an initiative policy (i.e. how charter schools were pioneered in Minnesota, for example) then the policy spreads like wildfire – TABOR allows Colorado to be an excellent testing ground for many innovative policies, on all sorts of issues

            Lastly, if we lag in ‘innovative’ policies, then that’s the fault of our legislators, not TABOR

            On a last note, regarding economic goverance, it’s the Keynes theory that government spending creates jobs, whereas it’s Milton’s theory that the private sector is the primary job creator – of note, Milton is not against tax collection, quite the contrary, he says that every government must collect some taxes, which then brings us to the Laffer Curve (as pioneered by Arthur Laffer) which argues that at some point, governments will start seeing a diminished return on higher taxes (in other words, a governmental budget will actually get more tax revenues when they tax the citizens 25% rather than 60%)

            Ultimately, my convictions lie in Capitalism, as I’ll do anything to empower Capitalism – but honestly, that is an ENTIRELY other debate, so for now, I’ll offer my reasons on creativity above

            With love and peace to you Nancy!

            ALI

        • raymond1 says:

          … is the reality that this state’s population want to keep taxes low even if it means elementary school class sizes of 37 in Montclair. Which is to say the majority has shown it’s preferring low taxes for mid-upper class whites even if it dooms a generation of nonwhites to hopelessly understaffed education.

          I get the theory of letting people vote on taxes… but really, you want to prioritize that theory over the reality of not educating the folks who need it most?

          • nancycronk says:

            Every state has poor whites, too, especially in rural areas. So many of our country’s problems boil down to students being poorly educated, because schools in economically depressed areas have poor schools.

            I live in Cherry Creek School District, surrounded by a lot of upper-middle class households and terrific schools. Having grown up in a very different world than this, I tell my kids (literally) almost every single day, “You have no idea how lucky you are. Do not take it for granted for one minute”. Unfortunately, my kid’s schools are the exception, not the rule.

            And as M. Ali and I have shared with one another before many times, improving teaching methods make a huge difference in education, but having basic necessities is also significant. M. Ali — where you and I have differed before is in the belief that the schools have enough money. I say they don’t.

            A number of my friends are teachers in Aurora and Denver schools. They often tell me they spend tens of hours every month helping students with basic needs just so that they can come to school. Kids who don’t live within bus zones who need rides to and from school in order to stay after or come early to get help, kid’s whose parents lost their homes in foreclosures, kids who have to work so many hours to help their families, they don’t have time for homework.  

            TABOR has devastated our schools. As someone who cares deeply about our state’s kids, why would anyone want to do that?

            • I am going to politely disagree with that sentiment, as under Amendment 23, educational spending got a tremendous boost

              At some point, fingers have to be pointed to school administrators, with the question asked: Are you spending the money efficiently?

              • raymond1 says:

                37 kids in an elementary school class — not only bad for learning, but the reason a truly excellent teacher I know left that school.

                Personally I think elementary classes should be max 20 students; go try to explain anything to 2-3 dozen rambunctious 6-year-olds, much less supervise them for hours on end.

                But let’s have a modest goal: elementary class sizes of 2 dozen. The simple math is that if class size is 3 dozen now, you need 50% more teachers to get class sizes down to 2 dozen.

                So here’s the point: musing that schools must be spending money inefficiently is a cheap shot that’s easy to take without any actual information; do you really think schools are wasting so much money that if only a Romney-esque bean-counter came on the scene, they could hire 50% more teachers? I think posing the question that way shows: the schools are so badly in need of additional teacher staffing that musings about “efficiency” and “waste” are the tactic of those who don’t really want to bother seriously considering that the massive gap between what the schools have and what they need.

                • nancycronk says:

                  Many schools can only do what they’re doing now because the already-poorly paid teachers subsidize the schools by purchasing some of their own classroom supplies. (The recent bill to make teachers pay taxes on the school supplies they buy from their own pockets is a slap in the face to decency, IMHO. What’s next, taxing scraps given to homeless people in soup kitchens? I digress…)

  4. Gray in Mountains says:

    the ratchet

    the interaction with Gallagher that is harmful to commercial property tax payers

    • The realistThe realist says:

      at the state level.  Legislators are left to moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic, with no real solutions in their grasp.

      No time to write a long response to this thread, but have to say — it absolutely makes my skin crawl when folks talk about taxes instead of services.  You want good roads?  Short of paying for them through tolls, we need to have adequate public funding.  You want good public schools?  Short of forcing everyone into online education, we need high quality teachers working in classrooms with reasonable numbers of children.  You want to do something to lower the child fatality rate in Colorado that continues to be far too high?  We need child welfare system reform which will cost public dollars.  I could list many more examples.

      And the debate re: job creation is just as nuts.  Neither the private sector nor the public sector should be credited with job creation.  Jobs are created by consumer demand which comes from a healthy middle class!  Now, let’s have a conversation about what austerity measures are doing to the middle class in this country.

      • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

        And the debate re: job creation is just as nuts.  Neither the private sector nor the public sector should be credited with job creation.  Jobs are created by consumer demand which comes from a healthy middle class!  Now, let’s have a conversation about what austerity measures are doing to the middle class in this country.

        I mentioned somewhere in another thread the young shop owner who spoke on NPR. He did not equivocate in any way. He said, “customers create jobs”. He is right.  

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