How a fresh take on Arveschoug-Bird can change Colorado’s fiscal landscape
TABOR was approved by voters in 1992. As a result, growth in state spending was limited to inflation plus percentage change in state population in the prior calendar year. TABOR also dictated that all existing limits on spending could only be weakened by a vote of people, thus “constitutionalizing” all existing statutes regarding spending limits.
Arveschoug-Bird was passed by the legislature in 1991, restricting the annual growth of appropriations from the General Fund to 6 percent. The General Fund is like a specialized checking account—it is used to pay for certain kinds of expenses such as higher education, criminal justice, schools, corrections, critical health care services and more. There are other kinds of state checking accounts, including the capital construction fund, the controlled maintenance fund, and many others. What Arveschoug-Bird does is direct the legislature to not write checks from the General Fund account for expenditures over and above 6% of what was spent the previous year. Left over money in the General Fund account is then transferred to other accounts and used for other things, primarily building things like roads and other infrastructure.
Released Jan. 4, 2008