Poll suggests TABOR ballot measures too close to call
October 15, 2005
DENVER – Colorado voters are closely split over a November ballot proposal that would let the state keep more tax money over the next five years, according to a poll reported in Sunday editions of The Denver Post.If the election were held today, 47 percent of those polled said they would vote in favor of Referendum C and 44 percent said they would not, according to the statewide poll of 625 randomly selected registered voters conducted Oct. 11-13 by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc.Nine percent said they were undecided, according to the poll, which has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.In a similar poll conducted three months ago by the same firm for the Post, 43 percent backed Referendum C, 42 percent were opposed and 15 percent said they were undecided. The margin of error for the July poll was also 4 percentage points.On Nov. 1, voters will decide two measures: Referendum C, which would temporarily lift the spending limits on state government imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, generally considered the nation’s strictest cap of its kind. The measure would allow the state to keep up to $3.7 billion in taxpayer money that would otherwise be refunded under TABOR.Referendum D would allow the state to borrow up to $2.1 billion for roads, school maintenance, pensions and other projects. Referendum C must pass for Referendum D to take effect.The latest poll suggests voters are split on Referendum D: 44 percent of respondents said they would vote yes, while 45 percent said no, with 11 percent undecided. In the earlier poll, it was 45-39 against, with 16 percent undecided.Brad Coker, a partner in Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, said the latest results suggest the measures will fail because undecided voters typically vote against change.”There’s still a public perception out there that more can be cut,” Coker told the Post.TABOR, a constitutional amendment that took effect in 1992, requires state and local governments to limit spending to no more than a 6 percent increase over the previous year. It also limits the amount of taxes and fees governments take in to a formula based on population growth and inflation.Extra money must be refunded to taxpayers, and voters also must approve any new tax increase. The state has not distributed TABOR rebates since 2001 because the spending threshold plunged dramatically during the recent recession in what lawmakers dubbed the ratchet effect.