Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 3, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

GROVER'S FUNERAL....Back in March, we asked "Is Grover Over?" We were, of course, talking about Grover Norquist, the anti-tax jihadist-in-chief whose sole goal in life is to bully politicians into endless tax cuts. But as we reported then, things weren't all going his way:

Poor Grover. Nearly everywhere he looks, it seems, a Republican governor or legislature is finding the seductions of tax hikes too powerful to resist in the face of reduced federal support and soaring education and health-care costs.

....No state demonstrates the rise and wobble of the anti-tax movement better than Colorado. In 1992...Colorado voters passed a referendum known as the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR which attached an amendment to the state constitution that required any tax increase to be approved by a vote of the people and limits state spending increases to inflation, with adjustments made for population growth.

....Business is the chisel driving a crack between moderate Republicans and the anti-tax fanatics. Although there is no group in Washington more loyal to the GOP's anti-tax doctrine than the Chamber of Commerce, in the states, reality often trumps ideology. For businesses to be successful, you need roads and you need higher education, both of which have gotten worse under TABOR and will continue to get worse, says Tom Clark of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, who notes that higher education has shrunk from 25 percent of the state budget in 1995 to about 10 percent today. I'm a Republican, Clark says, but I made the decision not to give any money to the state party.

And what happened? On Tuesday, Colorado voters passed Referendum C, which gutted TABOR:

The Taxpayer's Bill of Rights is "as good as dead" in Colorado, state Rep. Joe Stengel told conservative leaders from across the country Tuesday.

...."I think we now have become a blue state, frankly," Stengel said, complaining about images of Gov. Bill Owens and state Democratic leaders, who together forged the bipartisan compromise that became Ref. C.

Grover may not be over yet, but if his monomania turns very many other red states into blue ones, he will be soon. I can't say he'll be missed.

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal has more on this.

Kevin Drum 11:43 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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