Ca. Budget Notes

by Steven F. Hayward


Colorado’s constitutional tax and spending limit that you praise below was in fact modeled directly after Gov. Reagan’s Proposition 1 in 1973. Reagan’s Prop 1 lost narrowly, in a demagogic campaign in which the liberal interest groups scared voters into thinking it would raise local taxes if it passed. This is yet more evidence of how Reagan was ahead of his time. In 1973 inflation, which is what really pushed up property and income taxes in California and helped spark the tax revolt starting with Prop 13 in 1978, was only just getting started in 1973. Also, Reagan committed a blunder in the campaign for Prop 1 that the opponents exploited, as I tell in my book, The Age of Reagan, in chapter 8.

Prop. 13 was a much inferior measure to Reagan’s Prop 1, but that is another story. Clearly what we need is a rerun of Prop. 1. I am betting it would pass now. Issa, Simon, Arnie S. and Riordan should get together and sponsor the initiative. If Arnie and Riordan refuse, then we’ll know something important about them. (Personal footnote: My dad beat Riordan by four votes for a minor Republican Party office in 1968–the last time Riordan lost an election until Simon came along last spring.)