WHAT IS TABOR?
TABOR, a so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights, was a conservative anti-spending proposal which originated in Colorado and was proposed in a number of other states in the mid-1980s. Attractively packaged with an appealing name, it was proposed in Wisconsin as a constitutional amendment that would limit revenues for state and local governments, holding taxes to the previous year’s budget plus inflation. TABOR proved to be devastating in Colorado, and threatened funding for Wisconsin public schools and in our public services like police and fire protection.
The Greater Wisconsin Committee, working with a broad coalition of TABOR opponents, helped defeat it in two consecutive sessions of the legislature.
Anti-TABOR Campaign, 2004
In the summer of 2004, the state Assembly passed a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) constitutional amendment. When the state Senate took the issue up on 48 hours notice, Greater Wisconsin Committee launched an immediate response. GWC ran a statewide radio campaign and made 100,000 recorded calls into targeted areas, urging citizens to contact their legislators. Both the radio commercial and phone message were voiced by former Republican Governor Lee Dreyfus.
When the special session convened, the state Senate refused to take up TABOR because it didn’t have the votes needed to pass.
Anti – TABOR Campaign 2006
In 2006, the conservative majority in the state legislature revived their efforts to enact TABOR, this time renaming the legislation the “Taxpayer Protection Amendment.” Working in close coordination with dozens of other organizations opposed to TABOR, Greater Wisconsin Committee ran a targeted radio campaign encouraging key senators to vote against the legislation.
The legislators we targeted all voted against the bill and ultimately it failed to pass the Republican-controlled Senate, where it died for the session.