Twenty-five years ago, Colorado voters approved a measure that restricts revenues for all levels of government (state, local, and schools).  Under TABOR, over the past 25 years the state has returned more than $2 billion to taxpayers; in 2016, refunds ranged between $14 and $37, with very low income residents receiving up to $217.  At the same time, Colorado is ranked 39th nationally in K-12 funding per pupil, 47th nationally in funding per million dollars of personal income, and our state’s infrastructure and roads are considered inadequate and unsafe.  
This week, recently retired CSU Political Science Professor John Straayer will review TABOR’s impact on state and local budgets, governance and our economy overall.  He will be introduced by former colleague and RCFC Member, Dr. Bob Lawrence.  
Thirty-seven years ago, Political Science Department Chair, John Straayer took over CSU’s fledgling Legislative Internship program. According to former intern and state Senator Cory Gardner, “Every Tuesday and Thursday, rain or snow, Dr. Straayer, a van or two, and an over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived, ambitious crew of college juniors and seniors would travel to Denver from Fort Collins, under the tutelage of Dr. Straayer, to learn the art of legislation.”  
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper declared April 27, 2017, “John Straayer Day”, in honor of the recently retired professor.  The proclamation calls Straayer “one of the preeminent minds working in the area of local and state government, and his scholarship has advanced the body of knowledge in the field, bridged the divide between academics and policy, and served as an invaluable resource to several generations of scholars and practitioners.”  Besides Gardner, past interns include former Gov. Bill Ritter, state Sen. Matt Jones and state Sen. Dan Nordberg.
Straayer received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 1967 and has been at Colorado State ever since.  He was department chairman from 1972 to 1987 and served two terms as faculty representative on the Colorado State University Board of Governors.  His books include The Colorado General Assembly; State of Change: Colorado Politics in the Twenty-first Century; State and Local Politics; Introduction to American Politics; American State and Local Government; American Government; Policy and Non-Decisions; and The Politics of Neglect: The Environmental Crisis.  Chapters in State of Change include “The Colorado General Assembly: It Ain’t What It Used to Be” and “One Thing after Another: Layers of Policy and Colorado’s Fiscal Train Wreck.”
Straayer has received the Colorado State University Oliver P. Pennock Distinguished Service Award, the Colorado State University Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award, five commendations from the Colorado General Assembly, was the 2011-2012 Colorado State University Liberal Arts John N. Stern Distinguished Professor and recipient of the 2015 Colorado State University Liberal Arts award for Distinction in Outreach.
Professor Straayer has three children who, like him, have enjoyed the fruits of public higher education.  He is, hopefully, anticipating the same for his grandchildren and your off-springs as well.