Thursday, February 16, 2012

So much for TABOR

Last year, as part of its coalition agreement with ACT, the government introduced the Spending Cap (People's Veto) Bill. The bill was a perfect example of cargo-cult politics, a straight importation of the US Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which has devastated public services and education in Colorado. Enacting it here would likely have had the same effect on our public services, effectively drowning our government in the bathtub.

Fortunately, it looks like we won't be passing this Libertarian wackiness. The Finance and Expenditure Committee has reported back on the bill [PDF], and recommended that it not be passed. Instead,

the Government now plans to introduce other legislation to limit the growth in core Crown operating spending, making the Spending Cap (People’s Veto) Bill redundant.
Which is still worrying.

Also worrying is the process here. The select committee was quite open about dumping the bill because it was no longer in a coalition agreement. Worse, they admit that they did not even examine it in detail. While the outcome in this case is one I agree with, parliamentary select committees returning to their former role as rubber-stamps for the executive is a real backwards step in our democracy. The bill was sent to committee by Parliament, and the committee should have examined it. Their failure to do so is an abdication of their role as legislators, and one they should be ashamed of.