How about learning more on a subject that saves you money and stops the explosive growth of government spending?
You’ve heard of TABOR (The Taxpayers Bill Of Rights), haven’t you?
It’s been in the news quite a bit lately.
Why not use the TABOR Speakers Bureau for your next meeting?
We take the time to explain “what” TABOR is along with what it does—or doesn’t do, “how” it works, “why” it’s so important to Colorado, “when” Coloradans get TABOR refunds, and “how” it impacts you. Continue reading
Americans for Prosperity offer ‘Road to Freedom’ to Colorado lawmakers
Author: Joey Bunch – January 17, 2018 – Updated: 19 hours ago
You won’t find Bob Hope or Bing Crosby but Americans for Prosperity are urging Colorado lawmakers to take the “Road to Freedom,” the conservative organization’s legislative agenda.
Colorado Politics scored an early review of the AFP’s positions on energy, education, transportation and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
You can read the document by clicking here.
“We made great strides in 2017 defending TABOR and advancing policies that promote economic freedom,” Jesse Mallory, AFP’s state director and the former Colorado Senate Republicans’ chief of staff, said in a statement.
Author: Joey Bunch – January 13, 2018 – Updated: 17 hours ago
The bill, if passed, would refer a measure onto the ballot to ask Colorado voters to approve a tax on plastic bags from the supermarket. The tax would be a quarter, the same amount whether the customer at the checkout counter uses one bag or several. The proceeds would go to grants and loans to local governments and building contractors to build or retain affordable housing in Colorado.
The text of House Bill 1054 can be read by clicking here.
Compared to runaway housing prices, the bag tax comparably is a small price to pay, The tax, they project, could raise $50 million a year.
“No matter where I go or who I talk to, the sky-high cost of housing is the number one concern that I hear,” Rosenthal said in a statement.
Court said, “Even with the construction of a large number of new condos, the leases are expensive and not bringing down the cost of housing in the city,” she said. “We see many areas of the state dealing with this issue—it’s not just the Denver metro area.”
As a bonus, the tax would encourage the use of reusable or paper bags and raise awareness of plastic bag waste in Colorado.
“Plastic bags pollute and litter our environment, plus they’re an eyesore and they don’t biodegrade,” Rosenthal said. “We have to be far more aggressive when it comes to curbing our daily waste, which only adds to the mountainous heaps of garbage that currently litter our state.”
Several Colorado cities already tax plastic bags, “proof that the system works in the state,” according to Rosenthal.
Boulder passed a 10-cent fee on all disposable paper and plastic bags and reduced in 2013, and the next year bag use dropped 69 percent in the city, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.
The bill carves out exemptions for restaurants and those eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
When El Paso County asked voters in 2012 to impose a .23 percent sales tax to fund the Sheriff’s Office, the ballot question said the new tax would raise “approximately $17 million” annually.
Turns out, it raised $17,898,721 in the first year and even more every year since. But the county hasn’t made a move to either lower the tax or refund the extra money.
Now, anti-taxer Douglas Bruce wants to force the issue. He filed a lawsuit on Dec. 26 seeking a refund to taxpayers of that roughly $900,000, with 10 percent interest per year for four years, and a reduction in the tax rate to prevent future excess collections.
That’s what he says is required by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, a state constitutional amendment that Bruce authored, which was adopted by voters in 1992. TABOR states that if a tax increase generates revenue that exceeds an estimate contained in the election notice ballot measure, the tax rate must be lowered in subsequent years and the excess refunded in the next fiscal year.
“They are only supposed to get whatever they asked for,” Bruce says, noting in the lawsuit that TABOR provisions were designed to “prevent government from ‘lowballing’ the true cost of what it requests in order to lure voters to support it.” Continue reading
Where do we stand today on the Hospital Provider charge lawsuit?
There has been a flurry of activity. The original lawsuit (“Complaint”) languished in the Court without resolution for more than 18 months. Then, late in the session the legislature passed the infamous SB267, which among other steps, increased future state taxes up to $400 million per year without voter approval, and moved the Hospital Provider Fund off the books and supposedly redefined that welfare program as a government business.
The TABOR Foundation’s attorneys at Mountain States filed an amended Complaint to address the additional unconstitutional provisions of SB267. More recently Mountain States met the deadlines imposed by the Court for any further amendments. The revised Complaint (attached here) broadens the parties with standing to include individuals who paid the Hospital Provider charge, Rebecca Sopkin and Scott Rankin, and added the Colorado Union of Taxpayers; a change that the Board approved earlier this year. There was some refinement of the arguments.
Some uncertainty exists about how the lawsuit will proceed. There is a Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss that will probably be addressed in January. However, the Court has allowed the lawsuit to proceed, so Steve Lechner will simultaneously be preparing the case for the June Hearing. Motions for discovery were issued timely and Defendants’ (now both the State and the Hospital Association) information will be gathered.
Stay tuned; this lawsuit is now moving along quickly.
Penn R. Pfiffner
At 6:00 PM tonight, Penn Pfiffner talks about TABOR First Amendment Rights Vs Campaign Disclosures … The Goldwater Institute Takes To The Courts To Protect Free Speech
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Goldwater Institute-backed effort challenges campaign finance rules changed by city in September
Matt Miller, an attorney for the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute,= discusses a lawsuit filed by the group challenging part of the Denver campaign finance law. With him outside the Denver City and County Building on Dec. 13, 2017, are Marty Neilson, left, of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, and Penn R. Pfiffner from the TABOR Committee.
Two conservative taxpayer advocacy groups filed suit Wednesday against Denver over campaign finance disclosure rules that they say will violate the privacy rights of their donors when the groups get involved in city elections.
The lawsuit, filed by the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute on behalf of the two groups, says changes approved by the City Council in September violate the free speech provision of the First Amendment. The city ordinance requires clubs, associations, corporations and groups that advocate for or against local ballot measures to meet the disclosure requirements of issue committees once they raise and spend at least $500.
Once it passes that threshold, an issue committee must identify by name and address each donor who gave $50 or more within that calendar year.
“We have donors who like to remain anonymous, and we’d like to honor their requests,” said Marty Neilson of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers. “We think this is an unconstitutional ordinance.”
This morning the TABOR Foundation brought a lawsuit before the Colorado Supreme Court. As the Plaintiff, we have charged that both Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) and its Scientific and Cultural Facilities District had violated the requirements of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights when they started imposing sales taxes on items that had been exempt; items that the Districts did not have voter approval to tax. The arguments were presented on appeal to the State’s highest court. Our Foundation was ably represented by attorney Steve Lechner of Mountain States Legal Foundation. He faced alone the four attorneys employed by the governments on the other side. Our side had lost at both the District (trial) level and at the Colorado Court of Appeals.
We knew going in that the Court is skewed to the Left and consistently finds reasons to subvert the clear language of TABOR. One Justice, Gabriel, asked a hypothetical about getting broad-brush voter approval that, because as the Justice admitted, it was not applicable to this case. Mr. Lechner nailed a question by Justice Marquez. She had asked him if a precedent out of Mesa County could mean that the entire argument about voting on a tax policy change was irrelevant as long as revenues did not exceed the overall District TABOR limit. Lechner cited to her chapter and verse on why the particulars of that precedent were wrong.
Steve Lechner also gave a summary that laid out the proper path for the Court to follow, showing that our lawsuit does not ask to have the statute declared unconstitutional, since it merely provides the necessary legislative permission for the newly imposed taxes. We don’t even ask that the relevant statute be overturned; only that the Districts then take the next logical step and ask the voters for permission to impose those taxes.
In my experience, we will have to wait several months for a Ruling to be issued. The TABOR Foundation thanks Mountain States Legal Foundation for its free representation and its thorough, excellent work. Both organizations has seen this through as far as we can, and the Supreme Court’s ruling will conclude the issue.
Chairman, TABOR Committee
Opinion: The building blocks of TABOR
So, what do plants and Colorado’s economy have in common? While I grant that it is a little melodramatic, I think it’s also an apt metaphor for the situation imposed by Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
In 1992, Colorado voters approved adding an amendment to Colorado’s constitution that put a cap on how much revenue the state is allowed to collect through taxes. It also requires the state to authorize any new taxes directly through voters by means of a referendum process. Any amount above the cap is refunded to taxpayers. This mechanism allows me to feed into an unhealthy obsession with Legos every year, as my tax return checks can be quite generous. However, at the same time Colorado’s constitution has a requirement in it that requires the state to increase education spending to keep pace with inflation.
One great way to think of both tax and spending mechanisms is to think of TABOR as the brake and Amendment 23 as the gas. TABOR limits government growth and spending while Amendment 23 keeps a steady drip of cash flowing into government expenditures.
Reflections on 25 years of TABOR in Colorado
Friday marked 25 years since the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution in 1992
• 1992 — Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights amends Section 20 Article X of the Colorado Constitution
• 2000 — Amendment 23 for education spending increases
• 2005 — Ballot measure Referendum C loosens some TABOR restrictions for five years
• 2006 — TABOR measures rejected by voters in Maine, Nebraska, Oregon
• 2011 — State Sen. Andy Kerr and House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst lead suit against TABOR
• 2014 — Kerr v. Hickenlooper confirms general assembly has standing to challenge the constitutionality of TABOR
• 2015 — U.S. Supreme Court returns Kerr & Hullinghorst case to 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
• 2017 — House Bill 17-1187 to change excess state revenues cap growth factor introduced
Both Sam Mamet and Larry Sarner acutely remember the moment that the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Act was amended to the Colorado Constitution. The difference: One man hated the amendment’s restrictions, while the other saw them as democratically vital.
Friday marked exactly 25 years since the election in which the amendment was added to the state constitution — Nov. 3, 1992. The measure took effect Dec. 31, 1992, and serves as a way to limit the growth of government by requiring increases in overall revenue from taxes not exceed the rates of inflation and population growth.
Do you want to pay more in taxes and give up your legally mandated TABOR refund?