Dead Guvs’ Anti-TABOR Crusade Exposes Ignorance, Anti-South Bigotry

Talk about betraying your ignorance in service of political posturing. Looking for a way to cling to the idea that Colorado ranks 49th in something and bash the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights over the head, the Dead Guvs jumped on one particular set of rankings in the latest U.S. Census Bureau school funding data — with an attempted one-two punch on supporters of government spending limitations and on the Southern states:

We like to imagine that it’s Mississippi, Alabama, or another stereotype Deep South state that saves Colorado every year from ranking dead-last in education spending as a percentage of income. Okay, Florida then. Close enough.

The problem is threefold, and bears out when you look at the actual rankings (PDF). First, measuring spending as a percentage of personal income punishes states with greater earning power — the best way to increase your ranking is to make less money. As a result, West Virginia ranks fourth, Georgia 10th, Arkansas 11th, Mississippi 13th, South Carolina 16th, Alabama 21st. Meanwhile, Connecticut ranks 33rd, Illinois 35th, Maryland 37th, Minnesota 42nd, and Washington state 48th.

Second, there is absolutely no correlation between funding as a percentage of personal income and any measurable outputs in education. Florida, the only state below Colorado on this particular ranking, has been one of the most remarkable success stories in achievement gains — especially among its poor and minority populations — due to its wide-ranging reforms that promote choice, accountability, and excellence … without a huge infusion of funding.

Third, and it’s a minor point, Colorado hasn’t even ranked 49th in this particular category for several years.

Besides, it all depends on how you measure per-pupil spending. And even the Denver Post knows enough to observe that “Spending should not be viewed in isolation.”

It’s sad to see the Dead Guvs stuck in a tired debate that has moved forward. Find another way to do your TABOR-bashing.


  1. S. Jones says

    Well, Ben, wudda ye expect from a buncha fool libruls?

    I comminted ohn-iss and another issur at my blog. You will agree with some of it and vehemently disagree with some of it:

  2. says

    Thanks, Snaggletooth. You’re right I agree with some and disagree with some. (Interested souls with time on their hands can delve back into the history of that debate.) But more power to those who want to exercise choice in education.

    Re the Dead Guvs, I don’t expect much from them, frankly. And if I responded to everything here that merited correction, I’d have time for little else. But this particular issue is a hobby horse of mine. What can I say? Besides, I thought you’d appreciate the fact I stood up for my Southern brethren a bit here.

  3. says


    I work for the NRSC and would love to catch up about the Colorado Senate race and a few other things..

    My e-mail is vharris @


  4. S. Jones says

    Besides, I thought you’d appreciate the fact I stood up for my Southern brethren a bit here.

    I do ‘preeshate it.

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