By Matt Sundeen

There's a story going around that's so scary it ought to be told only in a whisper:

If Colorado tries to untangle the conflicts in its budget, it will end up like...California.

No self-respecting state would want that. The massive budget cuts, the IOUs, the celebrity governor autographing government-surplus sale items...yikes! Just the thought makes your blood curdle.

The "change makes us California" story is intended to scare us, but like many good tales, it's blatantly untrue. Budget reforms will not transform us into the Golden State. Almost the opposite is true. In many ways, Colorado is already like California, and if we don't change, more California-type problems are likely.

Opponents of budget reform have peddled the Colorado-to-California scare tactic for years. This summer, the Independence Institute's Barry Poulson repeated it to Colorado's Long-term Fiscal Stability Commission. Speaking about Colorado's ongoing reform efforts, Poulson warned that "if these trends continue, the outcome in Colorado will be similar to that in California."

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