Owens And Caldara Attack `Biggest Lies' In Budget Debate

Denver (AP) Conservative think tank president Jon Caldara and Governor Owens are facing off over a proposal to let the state keep more money, a proposal that goes before voters next month. In a debate Wednesday, Caldara says that the supporters are lying when they say the state is only asking for a five–year time out on tax surplus refunds.

He says that after giving up those refunds, government spending will be ratcheted up and able to rise from that new level, but Owens criticized Caldara for claiming that taxpayers will give up $3,200 in tax surplus refunds.

Owens says most of the refunds will go to special interest tax breaks whether or not voters pass Referendum C and D in November. He says the average taxpayer would give up $491 over five years if the measure is passed.

Referendum C would temporarily lift government spending limits imposed by a constitutional provision known as the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights and allow the state to keep up to $3.7 billion in tax revenue over five years that would otherwise have to be returned to taxpayers.

A companion measure, Referendum D, would allow the state to borrow up to $2.1 billion for roads, school maintenance, pensions and other projects. It would take effect only if C is approved.

The Owens–Caldara debate will be televised next week on KDBI, a Denver public television station.

Copyright 2005 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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