I may risk inducing a heart attack or two with two straight days of spooky posts. But yesterday I produced some school funding data to debunk the idea that Colorado’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) is the cause of apparent “devastation” for school budgets. Today I want to introduce a too-often overlooked factor into the conversation: PERA, also known as the Public Employees Retirement Association.
Lately, the issue keeps popping up. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton penned an op-ed highlighting the fiscal pressure placed on school districts by steadily increasing contributions to employee retirement plans. Here’s a scary phrase the Treasurer offered to explain the ramifications of failing to reform the problem:
A budget hole will continue to grow that no tax increase can fill.
Gulp. Meanwhile, I can almost see some critics looking for a distraction, pointing in a different direction and shouting abruptly: “Squirrel!” or “TABOR!” If PERA were left alone and TABOR completely gutted, officials would continue coming to voters for more taxes while services would still be in jeopardy. Continue Reading »