Residents of Colorado apparently will have an opportunity this November to vote on curbing state and local government spending.
Petitions bearing the signatures of 101,792 persons - almost 40,000 more than the number required by state law - were submitted to the Colorado secretary of state here yesterday, and as soon as those signatures are validated the spending limitation measure will be readed for the Nov. 7 ballot.
The proposal is described by its author, Palmer Burch, 71, a former Colorado state treasurer, as "exclusively and wholly a limit on spending by government entitles in Colorado.
"This is nothing like Jarvis-Gann in California. This is no meat-ax approach. We start with what we have," said Burch, obviously pleased with the support the petitions received.
Unlike the now-fabled Proposition is in California, the Colorado proposal - which would be Proposal No. 2 on the ballot - doesn't involve the slashing of taxes at any point.
Instead, the measure provides that spending by governmental units in the state could be increased only as much as the increase in the cost of living. Provisions for increased spending based on population growth also are made.
The sole gauge for cost of living increases in the proposal is the consumer price index compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor.The state legislature would determine the official population, aided by figures provided by the University of Colorado's School of Business.
Under the proposal, as Burch explained it, with a state budget of $1 billion (for the current fiscal year in Colorado) and a statewide population of 2.4 million, spending by the state would be limited to $400 per capita.
If the cost of living were to increase 7 percent in a year, the new spending ceiling would become $428 per person.To increase the ceiling beyond that amoung would require a special statewide vote, under the Burch proposal.
The same election requirement would apply to local government units, such as cities or school districts, should they want increased spending.