Monday, January 23, 2006

TABOR Troubles

I’ve been blogging about TABOR for nearly (within 2 days) as long as I’ve been blogging. At the time I started the Akron Pages I was the volunteer Summit County Coordinator for the Coalition for Ohio’s Future. So I was, needless to say, pleased when the PD ran a story about the threat TABOR poses to the Ohio State athletic program and the myriad blogs that picked up the story.

A couple items have sufficiently piqued my interest to be worth a post. The first is the novel interpretation offered by one of the TABOR drafters. According to the PD:

David Langdon, the Cincinnati lawyer who helped write the
proposal, acknowledged the TEL's impact on Ohio State's athletic revenue was not
specifically considered when the language was drafted.

He said, however, that he does not believe use of the
money is an "expenditure," in the technical budgetary sense, and therefore it
wouldn't be restricted.

"We would suggest that that's
a poor interpretation," Langdon said after researching the matter for several
days. "To just go to Webster's dictionary and pull out the definition of
'expenditure' would be the wrong approach."

He’s talking about how to interpret the engine of TABOR, Section A:
The general assembly shall not enact or otherwise authorize an increase in
aggregate state expenditures for a fiscal year that exceeds the aggregate state expenditures for the previous fiscal year by a percentage that is greater than the sum of the rate of inflation plus the rate of population change.


(B) As used in this section:
(1) “Aggregate expenditures” shall include all expenditures made by the political subdivision,
As it happens, Webster’s dictionary is easily accessible online. From it we learn that expenditure is essentially the nominalization of “expend.” Expend means: “to pay out :
SPENDSo how this simple dictionary definition gets TABOR off the hook eludes me. Under TABOR, if a political subdivision increases revenue more than the formula allows, it cannot spend it without jumping through the TABOR hoops.

The second remarkable aspect to the story is the response of the pro-TABOR camp. Thus far, there isn’t one. I already noted that Blackwell seemed to be shopping for ten-foot poles for dealing with the issue. Indeed, TABOR has sunk to two levels down on his campaign website. The official TABOR campaign group – Citizens for Tax Reform – has a website that is growing virtual cobwebs from disuse. They still have the petition information up, and no updates since November.

So that’s official TABORdom, which has been showing signs of buyer’s regret for some time. What about the true believers? Ohio Taxpayers Association has nothing. In fact, their site is also out of date – it still bears a flash about the pro-TABOR robocalls, with nothing about the Dewine bashing, ANWR oil loving robocalls of a couple of weeks ago. OTA Poohbah Scott Pullins has nothing on his blog, nor does rumored Pullins side project Right Angle Blog. The sound of crickets from TABOR land is deafening. It’s hard to believe they are ready to pull up the stakes at this time, but also surprising that no PD-trashing post has appeared anywhere.

Finally, another plug for the current effort to invalidate enough of the remaining petitions to get this train wreck off the ballot. Note that I corrected the original post on the matter when some additional information came my way. Meanwhile, I also have contact information if anyone in the Columbus area wants to help. If you've got time this week, call or email Cathy Johnson at COHHIO.


The Pullins Report said...

I confess, some of our sites do get out of date when we are working on other projects, typically legal work to pay the bills.

We are currently re-thinking our position on the Blackwell TEL, primarily because there appears to be a drafting error on the issue of tax increases on local governments.

If we are correct it would require a majority of the registered voters in a local subdivision to pass a tax increase. This is something that we could not support.

So far David Langdon has refused to respond to my inquires.

As far as the issue of Right Angle Blog, it just ain't me. No way I could update a blog on a daily basis.

I do support it, post on it, and advertise on it. But all I have is an email of the person that runs it.