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So Long, Ref C

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The five-year hold on taxpayer refunds in Colorado is over.

Referendum C, the measure approved by voters in 2005 to help government budgets, expired at the end of last month, leading to a celebration this week by the smaller-government crowd—people like Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, a libertarian-minded think tank.

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“Welcome back, TABOR,” he says (via The Denver Post). “We missed you.”

Caldara charges that Referendum C allowed the state to spend billions of dollars in taxpayer money that could have been refunded under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

But at the Bell Policy Center, where more spending on government has been supported, Bell President Wade Buchanan says Colorado will continue to reap the benefits from Referendum C’s “effects for many years to come.” The measure permanently ended the “downward ratchet” effect on the state’s coffers under TABOR, establishing a revenue limit that increases with population and inflation and that is not reset lower, as it was before, if revenues decline.

Caldara calls Ref C’s legacy an “upward ratchet” on government spending, while The Colorado Statesman looks at the details of how the referendum played out.

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