TABOR Committee responds to Court ruling on TABOR repeal

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TABOR Committee responds to Court ruling on TABOR repeal

 

Colorado’s Constitution contains a provision which requires that all matters proposed by ballot initiatives can address only one subject.  Yesterday, the Colorado Supreme Court allowed a ballot measure to proceed that would wipe out the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in its entirety.  The Court explicitly threw out a quarter-century of precedent.

The TABOR Committee adamantly condemns the Court’s determination.

“The Court has become dangerously unmoored from the clear meaning of the state constitution,” protested Penn Pfiffner, the Committee’s chairman.  The TABOR Committee points out that the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights includes not only the frequently-debated provisions for slowing the growth of government, but also for example

  • election provisions that call for, among other things, notification of the citizens by any Colorado government of any election,
  • requirements for emergency reserves at all levels of government
  • a state-wide prohibition on real estate transfer taxes ,
  • rules for property tax assessments
  • rights of local districts to resist state-imposed mandates.

Committee Board director Rebecca Sopkin observed, “It is strange that the Court found all of this to be one subject. The Court held that all of the above provisions and rights are ‘necessarily and properly connected,’ as though no one of them could exist without the others. We find that to be preposterous.”

In a scathing dissent, Justice Marquez pointed out that using the Court’s logic, a single measure could repeal the entire Colorado Bill of Rights.  Petitioners could simply substitute the Bill of Rights[1] for the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights[2].

 

The TABOR Committee finds it unsettling that the Colorado Supreme Court appears to take sides.  It specifically addresses[3] what seems to be at the heart of issue – that it would be difficult and expensive to repeal the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in a “piecemeal” manner.  Does the Court step into the political arena in an attempt to collaborate and cooperate with TABOR opponents? The Court should be impartial rather than act to relieve TABOR opponents of “expense and difficulty.”

 

The single subject issue arose as a ballot initiative in 1994. TABOR was very much part of the debate. The official summary (Blue Book) specifically noted that if the Single Subject Rule were to be passed, then it would not be possible to repeal TABOR in a single vote.  Instead, it would be necessary to address its provisions one at a time.  Citizens passed the measure.  The Court ignored the will of the people, history, established law, and common sense in its Opinion.

[1] Colorado Constitution Article 2

[2] Colorado constitution Article 10, Section 20

[3] Opinion, page 12

TABOR needs your help!

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Both The TABOR Foundation and TABOR Committee have received huge numbers of requests for assistance and participation.
Your Colorado TABOR team is overwhelmed!
We need your help!
Would you be willing to assist us?

You can make a big difference by volunteering your skills and activism.
Contact us and let’s talk.
Either email TheTABORFoundation@gmail.com or call Penn at his office (303-233-7731).

Thank you for any help you can provide!

Your TABOR Foundation and TABOR Committee team

 

 

 

Read below to see if you can provide any help!

  •  Podcasts

Be a media producer!  The TABOR Foundation’s mission includes outreach to people who have not heard about the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and to supporters who want more intellectual ammunition to talk about TABOR.  At one point, we had the facility, the interview talent and eight guests scheduled.  A technical barrier to posting our podcasts then took some time to overcome.  We would like to proceed, but now, for want of leadership and management, we have been unable to move forward.  Please help us solve that problem and continue the program.

Requirements:  We seek a volunteer who in 2019 will donate about 40 hours between now and early November.  The time demands most likely would be in “spurts,” that is, six different projects in which about six hours of your time would be needed over the course of about three weeks, with breaks in between during which little or no time would be asked.  The individual we seek has to be well organized and able to gently but persistently move other volunteers to act.  You would get to know the people who supply both the taping equipment and the interview skills.  For each podcast, you would coordinate the schedule to bring together the person to be interviewed, the taping technician and the interviewer.  You would obtain in advance from the Foundation the questions that should guide the interview.  You would attend the interview and address any problems.  You would work with others or on your own to edit the podcasts for content and flow, with the help of the taping technician.  You would coordinate with the web master to post the completed podcast.  You would solicit other advocacy groups to link to the podcast and notify other media of its availability.  Throughout the year you would report to, and keep apprised, the Foundation’s Executive Director.

  • Speakers Bureau – Communications

The TABOR Foundation needs to replace an activist who has excellent skills in defining the TABOR outreach message but must relinquish that role.  She also has been organizing the resources necessary for successful presentations.

Requirements:  A volunteer who in 2019 will donate an average of one to two hours a week to manage the Speakers Bureau and continue to weigh political developments and reactions to keep the speakers group prepared.  There is also a need to organize one-time training sessions to improve the preparation of speakers.  One training session would be for TABOR content, delivered by an experienced TABOR speaker.  A second session would be to hone the speakers’ presentation skills, to be led by a professional trainer.  Time would also have to be given to ensure consistent promotion is ongoing.

  • Speakers Bureau – Outreach

There are more speakers ready to make more TABOR 101 presentations than we have venues to deliver the message.  One person has been active in soliciting invitations, but needs assistance.  The TABOR Foundation needs another person to call political clubs and civic clubs along the Front Range, and perhaps eventually to expand into other areas of the state.  The objective would be to generate four invitations per month, which then would have to match the invitation with an available speaker and communicate the key logistical information and coordinate use of the PowerPoint equipment.  The individual doing this work needs to be a self-starter with a commitment to keep after the goals, in what often proves to be a frustrating and drawn-out effort to identify program directors, ensure that duplicative calls are not going out in conflict with the other caller, and the need to recruit the best person to speak from our portfolio of volunteers.

  • Monitor Family Leave Bill

Rumor has the TABOR Committee expecting that a new 1% payroll tax will be called something else by the legislature, so no voter approval will be allowed.  Learn how to track the introduction of new bills throughout the session (or exercise your knowledge if already familiar).  Once introduced, notify the Committee and keep us apprised of the progress of the legislation – when people can testify, revisions to the fiscal note, and so on.  Very likely there will be additional collaboration / coordination with other groups concerned about the bill.  A wild guess is that tracking will take 15 minutes a day until the bill dies, is passed, or session ends in May.  Additional communication may take one or two dozen hours.  A related task would be to generate guest columns in several major newspapers, a task that could double the time you contribute.

 

Welcome To The TABOR Website!

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Thank you for your support of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights!

The TABOR Committee and its sister organization, the TABOR Foundation, are active in protecting this important constitutional provision.  You recently signed up to receive informational emails from our organizations.  We do not clutter your inbox with extraneous self-promotion nor do we mail periodicals.  You will receive short notices only when developments warrant.

  • There is no formal process to membership nor is there any formal dues.  You may find the website at http://thetaborfoundation.org/ .
  • If you are seeking for a way to make a difference politically, we have a number of volunteer opportunities.
  • We appreciate donations. If you can make a financial contribution to either the TABOR Foundation or TABOR Committee we thank you.  Here’s the link to do so: http://thetaborfoundation.org/donations/ .
  • To subscribe or unsubscribe from the TABOR email list, send an email to info@TheTABORCommittee.com with “subscribe” or “unsubscribe” in the email subject line.
  • And please share the TABOR message and emails with your people. If they want to sign up for our email list, follow the instructions in the previous bullet point.

TABOR on!

Penn Pfiffner
TABOR President

The TABOR Speakers Bureau is available to explain TABOR to your organization members and answer questions

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11903845_10153520059035902_2509540475343472795_nDoes your group or organization need a dynamic speaker and timely topic for your next meeting?

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

Raison d’être

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The Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) Foundation is a resource to educate and inform how TABOR protects Colorado taxpayers from runaway government spending.

Anything posted on this site is not an endorsement of any political cause, party, or group.

Jul 18

TABOR Repeal Supporters Don’t Want To Call It That

Gee, we wonder what they’re trying to hide?
Why are they being so sneaky?
Don’t lose your #TABOR Rights.
Vote NO on whatever they call it in 2020

TABOR Repeal Supporters Don’t Want To Call It That

July 17, 2019

A 2013 ballot and voter blue book.Megan Verlee/CPR News
A 2013 ballot and voter blue book.

The Colorado Title Board on Wednesday approved key language for a possible 2020 ballot initiative that would repeal a highly consequential part of the state constitution.

But which part, exactly? If you ask repeal proponents, it’s Article X, Section 20. If you ask repeal opponents, it’s the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR. How the ballot question is presented to voters is just the latest high-stakes skirmish in a long war over TABOR, a controversial constitutional amendment passed in 1992 that’s limited government growth in the state.

Both sides presented arguments to the title board, a three-member panel with representatives from the Secretary of State’s office, the state Attorney General and the Office of Legislative Legal Services, that decides if ballot measures meet all requirements and how they should appear on the ballot.

The Full Story Behind TABOR: Read & Listen To The Taxman Podcast

The liberal-leaning Colorado Fiscal Institute is backing the repeal effort, which won a significant victory at the Colorado State Supreme Court last month allowing it to inch closer to the 2020 ballot. Carol Hedges, the group’s executive director, said using the specific term, “Article X, Section 20,” is the most clear, neutral way possible to refer to the amendment.

To read the rest of this story, click (HERE):

 

Jul 09

Q&A with Penn Pfiffner | On standing up for freedom, and TABOR

Q&A with Penn Pfiffner | On standing up for freedom, and TABOR

·         Dan Njegomir, Colorado Politics

The TABOR Foundation’s Penn Pfiffner addresses the Reagan Club of Colorado earlier this year. (Photo courtesy the TABOR Foundation)

 

Even if you don’t move in Penn Pfiffner’s center-right political circles, you’re probably familiar with his name as the media’s go-to guy for comment on the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights whenever it comes up in the news. And it comes up a lot, of course. 

The groundbreaking taxing and spending limits — venerated by some and vilified by others — have been stirring debate ever since being enacted into Colorado’s Constitution by voters in 1992. Better known by its acronym TABOR, the constitutional provision has prompted lawsuits, legislation and more ballot issues by wide-ranging interests hoping to elude or at least ease its restraints on state and local budgets. 

The perennial back-and-forth over TABOR also spawned the TABOR Foundation, which, along with its advocacy counterpart the TABOR Committee, emerged with the help of Pfiffner and other resolute TABOR supporters to stand up for the policy.

Pfiffner, who served as a Republican state representative from Lakewood in the 1990s, has become as distinctive a voice for TABOR over the years as he has for the advocacy of limited government in general.

He expounds on both of those endeavors and more — as always, in his characteristically eloquent and respectful way — in today’s Q&A.

Colorado Politics: Let’s start with a recent headline. The state Supreme Court ruled June 17 that a pending ballot proposal to repeal TABOR in its entirety may proceed — despite a constitutional “single-subject” stipulation on ballot issues that was long believed to have blocked precisely such an all-in-one-shot repeal.

In a public statement from the TABOR Foundation condemning the ruling, you said, “The court has become dangerously unmoored from the clear meaning of the state constitution.” The statement also said the court ”appears to take sides.”

Recap for us what was fundamentally at issue in the case before court — and why you feel the court missed the mark.

Penn Pfiffner: The recent direction of the Colorado courts on constitutional matters should trouble any citizen. Our American system relies on an honest judicial branch to impartially interpret the law. We have seen an absolutely consistent antipathy from the courts towards the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

It’s an understatement to say that the justices from trial level to the Colorado Supreme Court have appeared to argue backwards from predetermined outcomes. Some of the arguments appeared to me to be even juvenile, like an adolescent trying too hard to argue the impossible.

The central finding in the Bridge Enterprise case that the TABOR Foundation brought is an example. Years from now, I surmise historians of Colorado’s system will be amazed and disgusted that it became so partisan during these recent years. Good, experienced attorneys today are urging the TABOR Foundation not to bring any more constitutional issues to the judicial branch — it’s that futile, and all that we end up with is setting bad precedent. In the case you raise, the court explicitly threw out a generation of precedent. It’s as if they never opened the section on TABOR to read all the different pieces in this comprehensive constitutional measure.

A dissent from the bench pointed out that some activist could now substitute Colorado’s extensive “Bill of Rights” for “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” (in a ballot proposal) and in one vote overturn all citizen protections. A leftist court looks ready to use its personal political views to put a thumb on the scales of justice.


Penn Pfiffner

  • Chairs the board of directors for the TABOR Foundation and the TABOR Committee, since 2009. The two entities, respectively, educate and advocate on behalf of TABOR.
  • Owner, Construction Economics LLC, since 1983; provides financial and managerial consulting to architects, engineers and contractors.
  • Senior fellow in fiscal policy at the Denver-based Independence Institute, 2001-2014.
  • Served as a Republican state representative from Jefferson County in the Colorado House, 1993-2001.
  • Current board member and past president of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers.
  • Chaired “Too Taxing for Colorado,” an issue committee to defeat the unsuccessful Proposition 103 tax increase on the 2011 statewide ballot.
  • Holds a master’s degree in finance from the University of Colorado Denver and bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science from CU Boulder.

 

CP: Give us your elevator speech on TABOR’s role, and value, in our state constitution.

To read the rest of this story, click (HERE):

 

Jul 08

PROPOSITION CC IS AN ATTACK ON THE TAXPAYER’S BILL OF RIGHTS

PROPOSITION CC IS AN ATTACK ON THE TAXPAYER’S BILL OF RIGHTS

Proposition CC is the Colorado November ballot question that would take away hardworking Coloradans tax refunds—FOREVER. Vote no to this attack on TABOR.

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.

These words from Sir Walter Scott’s 1808 poem, “Marmion,” appropriately describe Proposition CC, the Colorado November ballot question that would take away hardworking Coloradans tax refunds, FOREVER. From the opening three words, “Without raising taxes,” we are being deceived by the writers and proponents of this proposition. When taxpayer money is not refunded as outlined in the Constitutional Amendment, TABOR, The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, the state is keeping more of our tax dollars, and therefore those tax dollars shall be defined as a tax increase. This statewide measure is asking voters to permanently give up tax refunds that are owed to us under The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. I am quite certain that if the federal government decided to keep all tax refunds for all of eternity there would be absolute chaos as we, the taxpayers, would refuse to believe that it is not a tax increase.

The deceit continues with the phrase “to better fund public schools, higher education, and roads, bridges, and transit.” There is no commitment to dedicating the “taxpayer refunds” to public schools, higher education, roads, bridges, and transit. There is no “shall” or “must” in this proposition. Instead, it is very open ended and does not allow the voters and taxpayers to know how the money will actually be spent, nor the percentages for each category.

Keep in mind that House Speaker K.C. Becker, one of the sponsors of the bill that produced Proposition CC, back in April during her discourse with Representative Susan Beckman in a House Finance Committee hearing, said, “As you know, Representative Beckman, one legislature can’t bind future legislators, so I don’t know what’s going to happen forevermore. And any change that is statutory, whether voters approve it or not, can always be changed by the legislature because the legislature always has the authority to change statutes.” These words from the Speaker of the House clearly states that there are no guarantees as to where the additional funds will go.

To rest the rest of this story, click (HERE):

Jul 04

EDITORIAL: Rebate grabbers at Colorado Capitol try a new scheme

EDITORIAL: Rebate grabbers at Colorado Capitol try a new scheme

  • By: 
Colorado State Senate (copy) (copy)
Caption +
State politicians are scheming to have Gov. Jared Polis call a special session this summer. They need a chance to fix their big problem with Proposition CC.

Prop CC, referred to the ballot by the 2019 Legislature, would gut the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Surveys show TABOR, passed by voters in 1992, is more popular than ever.

Taxpayers like TABOR because voters do not trust politicians on either side of the aisle. They are tired of legislators passing laws that counter their will, such as jobs-killing regulations of oil and gas that voters rejected on the ballot. They are tired of state officials acting broke while the economy generates mountains of surplus cash.

This year, with the booming state economy, TABOR might generate its largest tax rebate in history. Some politicians cannot stand it. They think they know best how best to spend the money. They loathe returning it to the people who earned it.
Jul 04

Colorado Governor Jared Polis Is Working On A New Plan To Block Tax Relief

Colorado Governor Jared Polis Is Working On A New Plan To Block Tax Relief

Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) welcomed conservative economist Art Laffer to the state capitol in Denver today to help gin up Republican support for a potential deal intended to avert taxpayer refunds projected to be sent to Colorado taxpayers in the coming year, with Polis’ ultimate goal being the wounding of the nation’s strongest taxpayer protection measure so that it remains in effect in name only, not in practice.

Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), approved by voters in 1992 as an amendment to the state constitution, is the sturdiest taxpayer safeguard in the nation. Under TABOR, state revenue cannot grow faster than the combined rate of population growth and inflation.

Any state revenue collected in excess of the TABOR cap must be refunded to taxpayers. Thanks to healthy state revenue collections coming in above the cap allowed by Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights, current projections show the state will have to refund roughly $500 million to Colorado taxpayers next year. That won’t happen if Proposition CC, a measure ending TABOR refunds, is rejected by Colorado voters this November.

To read the rest of this story, click (HERE):

Jul 02

Network of Colorado groups ramp up effort to diminish Taxpayer Bill of Rights

Don’t mess with TABOR.
TABOR protects you from Tax & Spend politicians.
Vote NO on Proposition CC in November and NO on repealing TABOR in November 2020.
Don’t lose your rights!

Network of Colorado groups ramp up effort to diminish Taxpayer Bill of Rights

A voter exits the voting booth at the Denver Election Commission office in Denver, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005. With polls suggesting a vote too close to call, Colorado residents decided Tuesday whether to hand state government more than $3 billion in taxpayer money to stave off potentially drastic cuts to everything from higher education to health care for the poor.

The network is called Vision 2020, and so far it includes the Bell Policy Center and Colorado Fiscal Institute, and Great Education Colorado, among others.

The network recently praised a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that said a proposed measure to repeal TABOR outright doesn’t violate the state constitution’s single-subject requirement. The ruling means TABOR, passed by voters in 1992, could be repealed with one vote.

Proponents of repeal would still need to collect signatures to get the question on the ballot for 2020.

To read the rest of the story, click (HERE):