Just the Facts Ma’am!

by Marty Lich

Remember California’s “Taxpayers Revolt” – a true success story – and now Colorado’s electoral chance for the same with November’s Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101 on our ballots?

California’s voters passed Proposition 13, which did pass overwhelming (1978) and as a result the state of California’s budget climbed…and climbed and climbed. For decades. You aren’t told that by the media, by California’s state government, or by California’s Public Schools.

Prior to California’s1978 ‘taxpayer revolt’ passing, various government entities warned of the ‘doom and gloom’ that would result should it pass. I sat and listened to a California County director point out, one by one, every person that would lose their job if residents voted for Proposition 13. Proposition 13 passed anyway. Make note of this; no one lost their jobs.

So who opposed Proposition 13 perhaps the loudest and still does? The answer may surprise you. And then again, maybe not.

The answer? California’s Public Schools.

If you Google Proposition 13, these are the types of headlines that pop up. THE TAX REVOLT THAT WRECKED CALIFORNIA schools, services…

And the National Public Radio news segment- Proposition 13 ‘drained the California Public school system of money’.

– So ’tis time for a California tax dollars Reality Check –

After Proposition 13 passed, the State of California made huge financial gains, not losses. I suppose that explains why none of the California’s County employees lost their jobs.

And if you doubt my words, read The Cato Institute report. (Click Here)  The Cato institute is a policy research foundation located in Washington, DC. They are not state or political party agenda organization. They are a financial-based nation-wide research foundation.

‘In the 10 years after the passage of Proposition 13, incomes in California grew 50 percent faster than in the nation as a whole; jobs grew at twice the national pace. Even supporters of Proposition 13 never envisioned that it would unleash the spectacular entrepreneurial and commercial explosion that it did over the next decade.’

In fact, all California state tax coffers climbed as Californians incomes went up. A full 75% increase. That is what Proposition 13 did for the residents there. This ‘Taxpayers Revolt’ is a success story, not a fiscal horror story of nightmarish proportions.

– So what did break California’s piggy bank? –

In large part, ever-increasing usage via a growing population of the following three California taxpayer-funded programs.

* Public Schools
* Public Prisons
* Public Health Care

And who represents the large and growing population of said items above?

Read on-courtesy of the Los Angeles Times investigative report.

– California officials, extremely generous with tax dollars in the past, are trying to find a way to eliminate welfare payments to tens of thousands of illegal immigrants.
– California has roughly 2.7 million illegal residents.  State officials estimate that they add between $4 billion and $6 billion (annually) in costs.

The Los Angeles Times based its report on collected data from the State of California and the non-partisan Pew Hispanic Report:

Putting this in simple terminology, California is a welfare sanctuary state.

The bottom line is, Proposition 13 is a financial success story and Colorado Amendments 60, 61 and proposition 101 will be a success story too.  ‘Proposition 13 has been successful at what it promised to do.  It prevented people from being taxed out of their homes and for the first time gave taxpayers a measure of certainty over their taxes’ wrote Joel Fox, former Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association president.

The same promise is written in Amendment 60, 61 and Proposition 101.

A promise of control over government spending and prevention of being taxed out of our homes. Families are losing their homes in Eagle County and the numbers are growing at an alarming rate.

Voting yes on Colorado Amendment 60, Amendment 61, and Proposition 101 gives you, the taxpayer, the right to designate who gets what money of yours to spend.

And that is just the facts ma’am.

Respectfully submitted for your review,

Marty Lich

* Authors note: If taxpayers read the above to mean legalizing Illegal aliens under a Comprehensive Immigration Reform program will decrease
our tax costs and increase tax monies, it won’t. Due to legal status, they will qualify for more, not less, public aid if they, the newly legalized residents are of low-income status.
It was true back then with President Bush and it is true today with President Obama.


“Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61 – What to do in 2010?… practical steps that governments may choose to take between now and November 2010…” Sherman & Howard L.L.C, February 16, 2010

“California’s answer to our cost of living” Marty Lich, April 24, 2008

“Come one, come all! Colorado Loves YOU!” Marty Lich, March 5, 2009

“Proposition 13: A Look Back” May 10, 2006

“Proposition 13 Then, Now and Forever” July 30, 1998

“Deficit may trigger anti-illegal immigration ballot measure” July 10, 2009


5 responses

  1. Marty has an interesting point and I appreciate her focus on “the facts.”

    If you want schools with 50+ students per class, huge layoffs, and a school system on par with CA, pass these amendments.


    Another fact is that Colorado’s schools are already poorly funded in comparison with other states.


    Further, the assertion that Colorado is a heavily taxed state is just wrong. Particularly wrong is the assertion that Colorado property taxes (from which schools are funded) are high.


    When looked at in comparison with the per capita income, Colorado is one of the lowest taxed states in the country.

    Colorado school systems are comparatively lean in terms of funding already.

    One must also question the wisdom in gutting your state’s education system in terms of the impact on both the economic development for the region and the country, as well as the impact on the future of the human race.

    We bankrupt our human capital development at our own peril.

    Jason Glass

  2. Thank you Mr. Glass.

    My ‘interesting point’ simply states return TABOR (The CO Taxpayer Bill of Rights) to what it was, via Amendment 60, 61 and Proposition 101. By doing so, we will return the State of Colorado to what we were. We taxpayers, your employers, were able to easily fund various government entities, which includes schools of course, but through our vote-not by a blank signed taxpayer check.

    If you don’t mind replying on your day off, may I ask you to submit or link to the tracked Colorado data from years past you have based the following statement on?

    This statement of yours-please provide links to support it-> “schools with 50+ students per class, huge layoffs, and a school system on par with CA.” (For never have I personally observed schools in CO or CA with 50 or more students per class.)

    Let me point out to you Mr. Glass that Colorado schools wish they were performing on par with California schools perhaps?
    – California has TWENTY (20) high schools listed on the latest report “America’s Best High Schools-U.S.News”

    – Colorado has ONE (1) high school that made the top academic performing high school list.

    Our one high school on that list is ‘CO Peak to Peak Charter School’ – which does NOT receive government “Title I Funding” Mr. Glass!

    As for “gutting your state’s education system” – I wrote about Proposition 13, which did not gut the California education system.

    California schools were not negatively impacted in California by Proposition 13. The State of California began offering more and more welfare (aka ‘Public Aid’) and that money had to come from somewhere. (‘Government’ is not self-supporting, with the exception of the U.S. Mint-which does make a profit on money printed/minted -)

    When one has more and more people receiving financial aid than they pay into, the result is likely Spending in the Red. That is the negative impact, but it not a Proposition 13 consequence.

    And please show me where I stated that “Colorado is a heavily taxed state.” ( Feel free to copy and paste what you can quote in, there is no need to retype it, if it is from my words.)

    My (correct) assertion is that Eagle County education represents over 50% of our property tax dollars each year. And rather than drop as our homes value and our employment has done – our property taxes have gone up. Risen right along with our county foreclosure listings–which may, or may not, make ECS more money. My thought is foreclosed properties aren’t paying much in the way of property taxes, but that is not something I ever researched either. Maybe foreclosures are a tax windfall for our state. I don’t know but perhaps you know the answer to that.

    * Restoring TABOR via Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101 will one again allow Colorado voters to decide how much and to whom we will give our hard-earned money.

  3. Mr. Glass,
    How do you figure property taxes here in Eagle County not high when the vast majority of homeowners were up in arms last year over the exhorbitant increase in property taxes?
    Are you utilizing property tax estimates of the entire state in an effort to supply the numbers that work for you and your local agenda?
    If you read your property tax bill, you would find roughly 40% of your property taxes are graciously handed over to ECSD.

    If our local school district is so, as you put it, “poorly funded” and “lean in terms of funding.” then why are we renovating our old BMHS, at millions over budget, we purchased brand new busses,we installed new astroturf not only to EVHS but also to the sports complex above, at taxpayer cost? Kind of spendy if things are as dire as you suggest, wouldn’t you say?

    I think, if we have more control on how OUR MONEY is spent, then more people would be happy to start new businesses, purchase new homes, and our tax dollar supported employees would be working as opposed to answering news posts online.

  4. Hi Marty,

    Greetings from NJ, where I’m on vacation and in school.

    The point I’m making is that I’m not sure California is where you want your goal to be for education spending, unless it is your implicit or explicit goal to bankrupt your schools.



    Surely you aren’t making the case that California is what the country (or CO) should shoot for in education funding? Some of your aggregate numbers in the US news report are certainly explained by the simple fact that CA has nearly 10,000 schools where CO has only about 1,600.

    As this shows, “Just the Facts” when it comes to statistics can be tricky business! A deeper understanding of school and government finance and the real impact of cutting school funding is really necessary.

    Frayedknot, the idea that Colorado is a heavily taxed state is a myth. According to this article from 2009, there are 37 states who tax property tax as a % of home value higher than Colorado. Being the 38th highest taxed state does not provide evidence that your property tax is exorbitant. As I recall, the reason people were upset about their property taxes last year is because the tax went up when the actual values went down. This has to do with the way the law is written for valuation and not to do with the actual tax rate. In Eagle County’s case, it just meant that more money went the state coffers to for equalization and actually no more money for our local schools, which is set per a funding formula.

    As a tax paying citizen in Eagle County, I think we’re in agreement that a law change to have assessed value more accurately reflect market value would be a good thing.

    I look forward to your responses.

    Jason Glass

  5. Hi Jason! When school/vacation ends (enjoy btw) –I still want to see any supporting articles re this.
    -> “schools with 50+ students per class, huge layoffs, and a school system on par with CA.” Again, never have I personally observed schools in CO or CA with 50 or more students per class. Ever. Layoffs? Oh yes! In every sector and always occurs during a recession–but this recession is tipping towards a depression.

    I have been known to change my mind if someone shows me that I should. But I change my mind based on supporting facts–and other than the fact that this nation is in a serious financial position-meaning all service providers and all residents face uncertain economic times for a good many years to come – I see no data that states that CA Proposition 13 gutted their schools as you said earlier. (In fact for a fact it didn’t-it paid in huge dividends until ‘gov’ hiked everything else) One thing I do extremely well is research. Then I talk–or type. Never the reverse though.

    CA schools/government would love to reverse Prop 13 to get even more tax money. Trouble is–that is what cooked CA’s goose to begin with–and CO is fast-tracking to the same result, bankruptcy. And if CA overturns Prop 13 the result will be banks paying the hiked property taxes because many of the homeowners will be in foreclosure. This I can tell you. Banks have been known, historically, to go belly-up too. And there will be no new federal bailouts. There is no funds left to do so. What happens in CA does not stay in CA-unfortunately.

    If public-paid entities keep taking more and more, their lifeblood, the taxpayer, will bleed out. Voting Yes on Amendment 60, Amendment 61 and Proposition 101 will block a lot of the arterial bleeds. Schools, cities, states better start lifesaving measures right now or their funding source, the taxpayer, will dry up.

    Then what will you do?

    PS If public schools cannot support on limited incomes just as the taxpayer now must do , then vouchers and private schools are the next obvious pathway. Remember-private charters and private schools and homeschools produce the very “Best and the Brightest” and on far less money per pupil.

    Taxpayers know this and so does ECS–that is why they pushed so hard to allow Homeschooled students here to take the CSAP, their test results helped the public schools out-we couldn’t do that before you know. One good student carries what, 7-8 low achieving students? Something like that.

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