From Milton’s Lips...to Arnold’s Ears
Milton Friedman and I have been exchanging emails this week about some
of the material that has appeared recently in this happy Corner, and I
thought everyone would like to know what a Nobel Prize-winning economist
believes California really needs.
Arnold, are you listening?
Steve Hayward is right that Colorado is largely a replay of Proposition
1. [In 1992, voters in Colorado enacted a measure limiting increases in
state spending to an amount equal to no more than increases in the
state's population plus inflation. The measure was very similar to an
earlier ballot initiative in California, known as Proposition 1, that
was supported by Milton Friedman and then Governor Ronald Reagan.]
After the failure of Proposition 1, Lew Uhler, who had been in charge of
drafting Proposition 1 for Reagan, persuaded a group of us to found the
National Tax-Limitation Committee which is still in existence. For
years we tried to get the requisite number of individual states to
request a constitutional convention for the sole purpose of adopting a
tax-limitation amendment. Obviously it was hopeless to get it supported
by Congress. We got very close, within one or two states, but every
time we got that close the opposition increased exponentially and we
were stymied again.
I have not been very active in it in recent years so I am not sure what
is going on, but what I am sure of is that an amendment of that kind
which covered both taxing and spending would be a very good thing for
California. It is interesting that Colorado is almost the only state in
the country that is not having serious fiscal problems right now, and
that is entirely because of the amendment it passed.