Conceding that the tax protest movement "is now national," economist Walter Heller said yesterday that he hopes states now contemplating tax limitation measures do so "with their eyes open."
"The worst way of limiting taxes is the blunderbuss, bludgeon approach we saw in Proposition 13," the California referendum that was passed last month cutting property taxes in that state, Heller said.
Heller, a University of Minnesota professor who served as head of the Council of Economic Advisers under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson was one of three men addressing the question of tax and spending limits at the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures here.
However, the strength of what is coming to be known as the national tax revolt was pointed up by Lewis K. Uhler, president of the National Tax Limitation Committee, who indicated that states from Massachusetts to Oregon were, in one form or another, moving towards either limits on government spending or reduction of taxes locally and statewide.
Coincidentally in Colorado yesterday, petitions were submitted to state officials that would put a porposed spending limitation measure on the November ballot.
Heller, Uhler and Colorado State Senate President Fred A. Anderson spoke to an overflow audience of about 500 that listened intently to the perceived ripples left by the wake of the California vote.
Heller said he believes people in the country are rebelling in "blind protest against taxes, government and inflation."
But Uhler, who expanded on the statewide spending and tax limit concepts, said, "An effort to draft a constitutional amendment to limit spending at the federal level is crucial."
The Californian and one-time adviser to ex-governor Ronald Reagan said th main concern of his committee wasn't cutting taxes, but rather curbing inflation.
Heller criticized the notion of limiting federal spending saying. "The federal government is the great economic balance wheel," that can ill-afford to have its hands tied through constitutional restraints.
However, the white-aired educator who has spent 30 years working in state and local finance in addition to his federal experience, said that Proposition 13, "should be a warning to government bureaucracy to streamline.