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November 10, 2006

The Collapse of Tax Cut Politics

You can check out Progressive States rundown of progressive successes in the states on Tuesday, but I want to focus on one key area-- the humiliating collapse of the tax cut politics promoted in the states by people like Grover Norquist.  

While it got little national coverage, for those concerned about health care and education, the number one issue in the states this year was defeating the so called "TAxpayer Bill Of Rights" (TABOR) initiatives. A version of TABOR passed in the early 90s had crippled education and health care budgets in Colorado until it was partially repealed last year and the rightwing had hoped to have TABOR on ballots across the country.

Their plan began to fall apart earlier this year when progressives highlighted the fraud in signature collecting in multiple states and had them thrown off the ballot in Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma and Missouri.

And then on Tuesday, voters in Maine, Nebraska and Oregon finished the job in voting down the remaining TABOR initiatives left. (See these Progressive States' talking points on TABOR distributed to legislators and advocates early for more on TABOR).  In addition, an initiative to repeal Washington's state estate tax was also rejected by voters, while Oregon and South Dakota rejected other significant tax reduction initiatives.

The media may try to spin this election as only about Iraq or simple disenchantment with Bush, but the rejection by voters of tax revolt politics-- a core ideological base of the whole Reaganite agenda from its birth -- is a clear message that modern conservatism had run seriously into the ditch and it's not clear what will pull them out.  Their coalitions are fraying and it's not clear what will hold many of their folks together without the glue of tax cut politics.

So yes, this was a very ideological election and a clear victory for progressives, which they can build on during the policy debates to come.

Posted by Nathan at November 10, 2006 04:29 PM