(Alexandria, VA) -- Since a large group of economists last week warned in an open letter to Coloradans that Amendment 58 would stifle energy production, increase prices for consumers, and discourage economic growth in the state, many more experts from the academic and professional sectors have joined them to sound the alarm. The statement, which was organized by the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), now includes 107 signatories, up from 90 a week ago. NTU has more than 7,300 members in Colorado.
"If enacted, Amendment 58 on Colorado's November ballot will have substantial negative consequences for the state and its citizens," the statement began. "This should be a time of expansion and investment in the state's energy infrastructure, yielding benefits for all Coloradans through more plentiful energy and quality jobs. Amendment 58 threatens these desirable developments by resorting to a vengeful tax hike."
Among the new signatories are economists from institutions within the state, such as the University of Colorado at Denver, and other prestigious schools, such as Columbia University. They join distinguished individuals from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Duke University, Emory University, the University of Virginia, and Wake Forest University, along with representatives of some of the most well-known research organizations in the country, including the Hoover Institution, the John Locke Foundation, and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
The economists note that Amendment 58 would double the tax rate on oil and gas production in Colorado -- which, according to one study, would cause the state's oil and natural gas projects to shoulder the second-highest production tax burden among top energy-producing states. State production of oil and natural gas would decrease, leading to heavier dependence on imports and decreased investments in oil and natural gas development.
"Despite claims to the contrary, the burden of any tax falls squarely on the shoulders of consumers, workers, and shareholders such as retirees or mutual fund investors," the signatories note. "We can safely predict that this measure will cause reduced state oil and gas production, fewer economic opportunities, increased reliance on imports, and higher energy prices."
"If Colorado policymakers want to pursue a sound energy policy, they ought to keep taxes low and reduce government interference in the markets that are capable of delivering innovative energy solutions to consumers," the letter concludes. "Attempts to punish successful industries and redirect money to programs favored by politicians have failed to solve our energy problems in the past, and there's no reason to think this effort will be any different."
NTU is a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: The full text of the economists' letter and a list of signatories are available at www.ntu.org.