In 1992, Colorado passed a state constitutional amendment similar to 1033. Known as TABOR, the Colorado initiative restricts spending in state, county, and city governments to the previous year’s level plus population growth and inflation. This formula has proven to be insufficient to fund the ongoing cost of government and has created a permanent revenue shortage.
A growing body of evidence shows that TABOR has contributed to a significant decline in Colorado's public services. This includes:
- Colorado declined from 35th to 49th in the nation in K-12 spending
- Higher education funding dropped by 31 percent
- Colorado fell to near the bottom of national rankings in providing children with full, on-time vaccinations
- The share of low-income children in the state who lacked health insurance doubled, making Colorado the worst in the nation by this measure
The effect of 1033 may be worse for Washington than it was in Colorado because it would go into place during a fiscal crisis. Again, Colorado provides an apt example: the state's economy was slow to recover following the 2001 recession with a job growth rate at a meager .2 percent. Other surrounding states had job growth rates that were much higher.
Below is a video that describes the experience of TABOR for Colorado voters and lawmakers.