One Montana judge ruled last week that along with two other Howard Rich-backed initiatives, the "Stop OverSpending" measure based on Colorado's disastrous TABOR Amendment had been qualified for the ballot through illegal signature gathering.
A unanimous order by Oklahoma's Supreme Court has knocked that state's proposed TABOR measure off the ballot. TABORs -- strict spending caps based on Colorado's disastrous Taxpayer's Bill of Rights -- have been advanced by the far-right in a number of states this year using a variety of shady tactics exposed by Progressive States and our allies across the country.
This move is a significant victory. It indicates that the anti-government forces knowingly broke the law in Oklahoma.
Howard Rich, the ultra-rich New York developer pushing spending cap and land-use initiatives in multiple states this fall, has said he does this because he believes in it. But despite cutting millions in checks to make these ballot issues happen, he won't publicly defend the ideas.
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski challenged Rich to a debate over the implications of Measure 48, a proposed spending cap in Oregon.
Earlier polling showed bad news for progressives regarding the TABOR spending cap in Maine facing the electorate this November. Those numbers showed over 70% of the state's voters supporting the ballot measure.
New numbers contain significantly better news.
The new poll shows the spending measure with support of 54% of the electorate, opposed by 25%, and 21% undecided. Getting voters to "no" is easier than getting voters to "yes" on ballot initiatives.
Stateline.org takes a look at property taxes today and evaluates the likely political impact. The article gets a bit humorous as Grover Norquist tries to claim that property taxes aren't really the problem:
Tax reformer Grover Norquist, whose Americans for Tax Reform group promotes smaller government and fewer taxes, predicts “taxes will be big in many states”? this election year. “Politicians say, 'We have a property tax problem.’ No.
The property tax debate has long been a tough nut to crack for progressives. Especially since the 1990s, when it became the rage for rightwing legislators to cut spending at the state level, leaving county and local governments with few options other than raising property taxes to address shortfalls for key services like education.
The worst part is that these tax shifts increased property taxes, which already tend to be regressive in nature.
Progressive States Co-Chair David Sirota likes Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer's new plan to provide equal property tax rebates to all Montana homeowners. The move, as he suggests in a new op-ed, "shows how progressives can redefine the entire tax debate."
Like many states, Montana is predicting a budget surplus for the first-time in years. Conservatives have taken a one-time upswing in the state's fiscal outlook as an opportunity to cut taxes for large businesses -- including outfits like BNSF railway that have neglected environmental responsibilities.
What was once a brilliant line from a screenwriter is now a solid rule of politics: "Follow the money." Any time there's a sweetheart provision inserted into legislation, there's probably a trail of spending by those who would benefit.
The California Assembly is moving forward a bill to tax the windfall profits of the oil industry, as gas prices surge past $3 across the country.
The proposal, which applies a 2% tax on oil company profits over $10 million, would fund prescription drug assistance.