Sep 30

Lawsuit filed seeking to remove Amendment 78 from Colorado’s November ballot

FILE - Colorado Election 2020
A lone voter casts his ballot amid voting stations set up in the McNichols building Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, in downtown Denver.

Amendment 78 would transfer the power to appropriate custodial funds (state revenue not generated through taxes) from the state treasurer to the state legislature.

Plaintiffs alleged that the amendment is not substantially related to Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) and therefore should not appear on the 2021 ballot. Measures that can go on the ballot during odd years in Colorado are limited to topics that concern taxes or state fiscal matters arising under TABOR. This requirement was added to state law in 1994. The Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) requires voter approval for all new taxes, tax rate increases, extensions of expiring taxes, mill levy increases, valuation for property assessment increases, or tax policy changes resulting in increased tax revenue. TABOR limits the amount of money the state of Colorado can take in and spend. It ties the annual increase for some state revenue to inflation plus the percentage change in state population. Any money collected above this limit is refunded to taxpayers unless the voters allow the state to spend it

To continue reading this story, please click (HERE):

Sep 28

EDITORIAL: $4 billion in returns will fuel the economy

Tails should not wag dogs. It defies physics, not to mention the will of the dog. Tails should wag dogs no more than politicians should decide the size and scope of a government established by the governed to serve the governed. A roaring economy should never increase the size and scope of government unless the people demand it.

The residents of Colorado have made clear they don’t want more government. They believe the state has all the money it needs. They reiterated this conviction just two years ago when they trounced Proposition CC, a proposal to let the state keep revenues above a floating state spending cap determined by an equation of inflation and population growth.

Just last year, voters went a step further and lowered the Property tax from 4.63% to 4.55%, and probably would have voted for a lower rate had they been given the option.

One reason this center-left blue state wants to throttle back government spending is the general discontent the public has with the way politicians treat their money.

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

Sep 28

Colorado to issue $4.1 billion in taxpayer refunds in next four years

Source: Colorado Legislative Council; Chart: John Frank/Axios

Colorado is preparing to issue $4.1 billion in refunds to taxpayers over the next four years, new projections show.

State of play: Whether that’s a good thing remains up for debate among state lawmakers.

What’s happening: Democratic lawmakers and liberal advocates are renewing a push to bypass the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and keep the surplus tax revenue, saying the money is needed to help the state build back from the pandemic and improve education.

  • Early discussions involve moving certain revenue off the books.
  • Another possibility is asking voters to keep the money through a ballot measure.

What they’re saying: “This coming year, taxpayers will see rebate checks, but those will come at the expense of better funding for public services that reduce costs for all of us,” state Sens. Chris Hansen and Dominick Moreno, both Democratic budget writers, wrote in a recent opinion piece.

The other side: Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, is cheering the refunds, saying they’re a sign of a good economy.

Conservative supporters of TABOR are blasting Democrats for wanting to keep the cash.

  • “Colorado voters have said time and time again they want their TABOR refunds,” said Jesse Mallory, the Colorado director of Americans for Prosperity, a limited-government group. “The legislature should not ignore the will of the voters and look for loopholes to keep them.”

How it works: Under TABOR, the voter-approved constitutional amendment, Colorado’s tax revenues cannot exceed the rate of inflation plus population growth. When they do, the surplus must go back to taxpayers unless voters allow the government to spend the money.

The size of the surplus determines how it is refunded.

  • For the current year through 2024, the surplus is so large it will result in a temporary reduction of the state’s income tax rate from 4.55% to 4.5% and a sales tax refund.

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

Sep 23

State’s economic recovery expected to fuel billions in TABOR refunds

Colorado taxpayers should expect to see Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights refunds for the next several years, provided state revenues continue to do well over that time, state economists told lawmakers Tuesday.

Those economists told the Colorado Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee that their third-quarter revenue forecasts are showing that if the economy continues to bounce back from last year’s pandemic downturn the way it is right now, the state could see more than $4 billion in surplus revenue over the next four years.

That’s money over and above what the 1992 TABOR and 2005 Referendum C voter-approved amendments allows the state to retain, meaning it all is to be refunded to taxpayers when they file their income tax forms starting next year.

As things stand now, the Legislature expects to refund about $471.4 million next year, $1 billion in 2023, $1.2 billion in 2024 and $1.4 billion in 2025, the economist estimated.

That’s all possible because the state’s economy overall is at or near at pre-pandemic levels.

To continue reading this story, please click (HERE):

Sep 21

The Colorado Discriminatory Grant Program

FYI.
This is similar to President Biden’s Federal program for minority businesses that was ruled unconstitutional by a Federal judge.
Governor Polis is trying to skirt the law with Colorado funds.
Forward this information to your friends who qualify so we can try to get the Colorado program ruled unconstitutional

 

 

 


From:
Wen Fa [mailto:WFa@pacificlegal.org]
Subject: RE: Colorado’s Discriminatory Grant Program

Pacific Legal Foundation is looking to identify small businesses in Colorado that may be interested in serving as public interest clients (i.e., with our pro bono representation) in challenging Colorado’s program that prioritizes grants to certain minority owned small businesses. Below is a summation of the issue. If you know of anyone who might be a good fit, we would be very interested in connecting with them.

Colorado is in the process of creating guidelines to distribute 1.7 million dollars in grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID pandemic. The law that authorizes this program expressly gives a preference to “minority-owned business,” and disadvantages businesses owned by someone who is white or Native American.   Last week Colorado posted guidelines for the grants: https://oedit.colorado.gov/disproportionately-impacted-business-grant .   The grants are for up to $10,000 per business, and applications are open from September 17 to October 3, 2021.

The program will give a preference to minority-owned businesses in distributing the grants, which we still believe is unconstitutional.

Given the short application window, we want to speak with individuals who own small businesses and are interested in applying for these grants as soon as possible. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Wen Fa | Attorney
Pacific Legal Foundation
930 G Street | Sacramento, CA 95814
916.419.7111

 

 

Sep 16

Sen. Rob Woodward: Why can’t Democrats respect the will of the voters?

By Sen. Rob Woodward 

If there is one thing that I’ve learned during my time in state government, it’s that Coloradans like to have their voices heard on taxes, fees and government debt. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) is often at the center of debate and discussion on these issues, but at every opportunity that voters have had, they’ve repeatedly upheld TABOR.

Colorado voters soundly defeated — by over 100,000 votes — an attempt to repeal portions of TABOR just two years ago when we voted down Proposition CC. Then, in 2020, voters strengthened TABOR by passing Proposition 117, which required that any new fees that feed into a government enterprise that expect to bring in over $100 million over five years must be voted on by the people. This initiative was born from necessity as some politicians found it convenient to bypass TABOR by simply switching out the term “tax” for “fee.”

This legislative session, Democrats, who have complete control over state government, were determined to not let you have a say when it comes to taxes and fees. Colorado Public Radio columnist Andrew Kenney dubbed this legislative session as “The Year Democrats Left TABOR Behind,” and I unfortunately must agree.

To continue reading the rest of this story, please click (HERE):
Sep 15

Towns and Cities Should Use Their Stimulus Windfalls to Cut Taxes

Towns and Cities Should Use Their Stimulus Windfalls to Cut Taxes

States can’t do it, but there’s nothing stopping local governments from issuing refunds.

By Judge Glock

Sept. 14, 2021 12:54 pm ET


President Biden speaks during at an event on his tour touting the American Rescue Plan Act in Columbus, Ohio, March 23.  PHOTO: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS

Since the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act in March, state policy makers have fiercely debated how to spend nearly $200 billion in stimulus funds. Few Americans, however, have heard plans for the $130 billion that went to cities and counties.

Despite concerns during the pandemic that the economic downturn would bankrupt local governments, we now know that they don’t need this windfall. Local governments actually saw an increase in tax revenue in 2020, thanks to growing property taxes, and they are looking at a bumper tax year in 2021. States should push these cities and counties to return the stimulus money to taxpayers by allowing citizens to vote on any new spending.

The stimulus legislation forbade states to use the money to cut taxes. It was silent on local government tax cuts, but did say those funds should be used for the relief of households and for spurring local economies. Nothing would accomplish these tasks better than cutting property and sales taxes, the two biggest sources of local tax revenue.

Not only is stimulus unnecessary for most local governments, it was distributed nonsensically. The act gave money to counties and small cities based solely on their population and to large cities based on an antiquated formula from the 1970s that benefits bluer cities in the Northeast and Midwest.

To continue reading this story from the Wall Street Journal, please click (HERE):

Sep 07

EDITORIAL: Refunds remind us of TABOR’s wisdom

060921-dg-capitol
The Colorado State Capitol building during the final day of the legislative session on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Denver, Colo. (Katie Klann/The Gazette)

It seems like just yesterday to us that Colorado voters adopted the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights on the statewide ballot and ensconced it into the state’s constitution. Yet, the groundbreaking policy has been in effect for nearly three decades.

In that time, it has kept state and local government on a diet — and has saved taxpayers untold millions of dollars. And they still love it after all these years, as most credible polls show.

Perhaps more noteworthy: Even some political leaders on the center-left seem to have made their peace with the policy. Our reputedly liberal Democratic governor from Boulder went so far as to laud it just the other day. That’s quite a stride.

Yet, TABOR’s basic premise has always made perfect sense to the general public. It requires voter approval for any tax hike at any level of government in the state. And it set limits on the rate at which government budgets can grow. Any increase in tax revenue that exceeds the rates of growth plus inflation in a given year have to be returned to taxpayers. Elected leaders can keep the overage if they first ask voters’ permission.

Click (HERE) to continue reading this story about TABOR:

Sep 04

Here’s the income-tax cut and refund payment Coloradans will get because the TABOR cap was exceeded

Here’s the income-tax cut and refund payment Coloradans will get because the TABOR cap was exceeded

According to the state controller, the cap was exceeded in the 2020-21 fiscal year, which ended in June, by about $454 million

12:14 PM MDT on Sep 2, 2021


The Colorado State Capitol is seen on Thursday, August 19, 2021, in Denver. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)

Colorado taxpayers will get a break on their income taxes and a refund payment because the state’s cap on government growth and spending under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights was exceeded last fiscal year.

The income tax rate will drop to 4.5% in 2021, down from 4.55%, and individual taxpayers will get an additional sales tax refund payment, on average, of about $70. Joint filers will receive $166 on average.

“These tax cuts and refunds are a strong sign that Colorado’s economy is roaring back,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a written statement. “I’m excited that Coloradans will get another income tax cut and refund that Coloradans can put toward bouncing back from the pandemic, a night out, or groceries.” Continue reading