(VIDEO and TEXT) Floor Speech of Rep. Bob Duchesne (D- Hudson) on LD 849, TABOR Bill

Posted on April 6, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Take a look.

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Men and women of the House.

OK. Now we’re just haggling.

Last week, the House declined to abandon fiscal responsibility and financial prudence by skimming 40% of the money intended for the Rainy Day Fund and long term obligations.We wouldn’t compromise our principles for 40%. The other body is now asking if we would compromise our principles for 20. I say we hold out until they throw in a toaster oven.

You already know that any budget surplus is supposed to pay down our liabilities and stabilize our budget, so I’m not going to repeat myself.

I need a moment with my Democratic colleagues, Mr. Speaker. This is not to leave this room.

This bill is not that bad. Seriously, this really puts the trickle in trickle down.

That’s the income tax reduction plan? Skim 20% off a surplus when and if we have one? I’m sure you recognize this box our friends are getting into. You got into it, too.

Remember when we had to explain that tax reform package a couple of years ago? It was revenue neutral, lowering the income tax rate, broadening the sales tax, making tax credits refundable to make the reform progressive, increasing taxes that were particularly exportable like car rentals, and choosing only those sales tax items that were not likely to result in pyramiding taxes on business. And all the opponents had to say was: Democrats raised a hundred taxes.

When the explanation takes way longer than the rebuttal, you’re in a box.

So this fall our friends will explain that LD 849 adds income tax reduction to the cascade of things that a budget surplus is supposed to pay for to a bunch of voters who don’t know what the cascade is. There will now be six items instead of five in the cascade. And instead of 35% going to stabilize the budget, it will be reduced to 28%. And the Retirement Allowance Fund drops from 20% to 16%, and so on. It’ll only happen if and when there is a surplus, but someday, after wandering 30 years in the desert, we will reach the Promised Land.

And our campaign mailings will say: Republicans raided the Rainy Day Fund. After a gift like this, there will be plenty of time to fix this law before any real damage is done.

Don’t get me wrong Mr. Speaker. I like the idea on a personal level. Counting the diet I am going to go on next year, I’ve lost 20 pounds this session.

Look, cutting future revenue is the easy part. But if we think future legislatures are going to do the hard part and cut future expense, we don’t know future legislatures very well. None of the future legislatures since 2004 have gotten us to 55% school funding and, for that, we ARE the future legislature.

The whole POINT of this bill is to trigger budget crises in the future, putting the squeeze on the Appropriations Committee. In each one of those crises, they’re not going to find it any easier to cut vital services than we have. They will all say what they have always said: “good idea, but we can’t do it this year.”

Even if it passes, LD 849 will have the statutory shelf life of a ripe banana.

Dead bill walking.

So what’s the cost/benefit on this bill? Probable short-term consequences, against the remote possibility that the bill will actually do anything. There is no shortcut to fiscal responsibility. You can’t put it off. Each legislature is either fiscally responsible, or it is not.”

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