Dec 18

Survey: Colorado businesses want lawmakers to avoid tax increases during upcoming legislative session

  • By Robert Davis
  • Dec 17, 2020

The skyline is backlighted as the sun sets late Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Denver.

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

(The Center Square) – Colorado businesses are opposed to lawmakers increasing taxes during the upcoming legislative session, according to a new survey on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the state’s businesses.

The survey, conducted by the Colorado Chamber of Commerce, found 87% of respondents want lawmakers to avoid “increases in taxes on businesses.”

Of the survey’s respondents, 80% of businesses said they want lawmakers to implement COVID-19 liability protections, and 56% want exceptions in public health orders to allow businesses to stay open if they meet or exceed guidelines.

“The economic fallout from COVID-19 can be felt among businesses of all sizes throughout the state,” Chuck Berry, president of the Colorado Chamber, said in a statement.

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Dec 18

Title Board rejects petitions proposal, finding an attempt to change constitution via statute

Title Board March 4
From left to right: Title Board members David Powell, Theresa Conley and Julie Pelegrin at the March 4, 2020 meeting.

The Title Board rejected on Wednesday a proposed ballot initiative to drastically revamp the direct democracy process in Colorado, concluding the proposal was an attempt to repeal sections of the state constitution without actually being a constitutional amendment.

“You simply cannot amend the Colorado constitution by enacting a statute,” said Jason Gelender, a board member representing the Office of Legislative Legal Services. “It would be like if the General Assembly tried to do what the measure seems to try to do, saying ‘we’re going to repeal TABOR,’” referring to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Initiative #6, from designated representatives Donald L. “Chip” Craeger III of Denver and John Ebel of Lone Tree, mirrored three other proposals the Title Board considered within the past year. Nicknamed the “Petition Rights Amendment,” the measure would expand the right of ballot initiative to most units of government, change the process by which initiative titles are set and appealed, and alter the number of signatures required to place an initiative on the statewide ballot.

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Dec 07

Can voters ignore the state constitution when passing an initiative?

The Other Arizona Election Challenge

Can voters ignore the state constitution when passing an initiative?

By  The Editorial Board

Dec. 6, 2020 5:43 pm ET

Voters wait in line at the Surprise Court House polling location in Surprise, Arizona, Nov. 3.

PHOTO: CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGES

 

The outcome of the presidential race isn’t the only election result being contested in Arizona, and the other has even greater consequences for the law. Last week two lawsuits were filed against Proposition 208, the ballot initiative that imposes a new 3.5% tax surcharge to raise an estimated $827 million for education. It passed with 51.7% of the vote.

The suits are challenging whether Prop 208, which passed as a statute, must conform to the state constitution. One suit was filed by businesswoman Ann Siner and retired judge John Buttrick, the other by the Goldwater Institute, the influential Arizona think tank.

The suits claim that Prop 208 contradicts a constitutional amendment that limits the amount of revenue provided to school districts each year. It also overrides another constitutional provision requiring a two-thirds majority of the Legislature to approve a tax increase.

The Legislative Council, a nonpartisan legislative office that reviews bills and ballot measures for form and constitutionality, held that Prop 208’s language exempting the money it raises from an existing cap on education spending “is likely invalid” because it violates express constitutional limits. Supporters went ahead anyway. The state Supreme Court declined to rule on claims that Prop 208 unconstitutionally curtails the Legislature’s authority but said it couldn’t consider the issue until it passed.

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Dec 02

Colorado Rising State Action out to lower tax bills again

Colorado Rising State Action out to lower tax bills again

Colorado Rising Action executive director Michael Fields speaks to anti-Proposition CC supporters gathered for the No On CC campaign’s election night watch party at Great Northern in Denver on Nov. 5, 2019.

(Photo by Andy Colwell, special to Colorado Politics)

Colorado Rising State Action isn’t done with lower taxes yet.

The conservative advocacy organization is dropping the language for another tax decrease on the 2021 statewide ballot.

The question would reduce the residential property tax assessment rate from 7.15% to 6.5% and the non-residential property tax assessment rate from 29% to 27%.

Colorado Rising State Action opposed the repeal of the Gallagher Amendment, Amendment B, last month. The 38-year-old constitutional constraint set an equation between the rates for homes versus commercial property.

The repeal passed with 57.5% approval.

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Nov 18

How Colorado Voters Cut Taxes During a Statewide Blue Wave

An election official notes the weight of a ballot box as a means to estimate the number of ballots locked inside before they are processed and counted for the presidential election in Denver, Colo., October 22, 2020. (Kevin Mohatt/Reuters)

And how, at the same time, progressives duped them into massive tax increases elsewhere.

In an election year where the political Left won nearly every ballot question and contested political race in the state, Colorado voters approved two conservative-backed ballot measures demanding fiscal restraint.

Proposition 116 reduces the state’s flat income-tax rate from 4.63 percent to 4.55 percent, and Proposition 117 requires the legislature to receive voter approval of large new government fees.

Most outcomes from Colorado’s 2020 ballot come as no surprise in a state now largely dominated by the Left. Democrats flipped a seat in the state senate while losing nothing. The Republican-to-Democrat ratio in the House remained unchanged. Voters rejected a ban on abortion after 22 weeks of gestation. The state agreed to join the National Popular Vote compact. Environmental activist groups won on Proposition 114, a measure to introduce gray wolves to the Colorado Rockies. The tax and fiscal issues, however, have left many Colorado policymakers and pundits baffled.

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Nov 18

Election 2020 proves that every state needs to do what Colorado has been doing since 1992

Some states that have a strong reputation for low tax burdens, such as Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona are noticeably weak when it comes to taxpayer protections

In addition to voting for elected officials at the federal, state and local level, taxation was on the ballot on Election Day all across the country.

Close to 2,400 measures that have tax or fiscal ramifications were on American ballots in the form of property tax measures, bond propositions and more.

Close to $25 billion in annual tax hikes were voted on, a significant amount that would hit taxpayers’ wallets in dozens of states.

Not only that, but more than $50 billion in bond measures were on the ballot, which can result in higher debt obligations for governments that could affect taxpayers for decades.

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Oct 21

Learn the difference between a tax and fee and why you should vote YES on Proposition 117

Do you know the difference between a tax and a fee?

Click the following link to watch TABOR Committee Chairman Penn Pfiffner explain it to Brandon Wark of Free State Colorado.

He also goes in depth to show why Colorado voters should vote YES on Proposition 117.

Oct 01

Prop 117 ad exposes how politicians raise your taxes by calling it a ‘fee’

As the grassroots organization Vote on Fees points out, with liberal majorities in the legislature the Taxpayer Bill of Rights is the only thing preventing Democrats from going completely out of control at the state capitol.

Colorado’s state legislature uses the word “FEE” to grow state programs and spending without having to ask Coloradans for the permission to raise taxes required under our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Massive revenue increases like FASTER (car registration) fees, are taxes coming out of our pockets to pay for state programs, and should go through the same voter approval process as all tax increases. It’s not complicated — just ask the people.

Two-thirds of state revenue now falls outside of TABOR. We need to do a better job of managing our state’s more than $30 billion budget. The status quo of continuing to grow and create new state programs and finance them off of “fees” needs to end.

Democrats have recently been using fee increases as an end-run around the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, a state Constitutional amendment that gives voters the final say on all statewide tax increases. The recent use of “fees” to short-circuit our Constitutional rights is extremely troubling, and fiscally responsible voters need to put a stop to it immediately.

Prop 117 is a major threat to Democrats and their socialist vision for Colorado.

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Sep 29

Letter: Proposition 117 to the rescue

Thomas Jefferson pointed out that “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. That government is best which governs least.” As taxpayers, our wisdom was used by voting on an amendment back in 1992 to limit state spending to about the same as state growth — well known as the TABOR Amendment.

This has almost worked to keep the state from taxing us out of our hard-earned wages or profits. The problem is those in government always want to spend on their pet programs and have found a way around what we taxpayers have established as a very fair limit on government spending.  We elect those to our legislature to care for our state and control our government so we can carry on with our own lives and families. That confidence really can be disappointing as the con in confidence can also be the con in conman.

According to The Common Sense Institute, a business-oriented coalition, the state budget was spending 46% or $2,403 per taxpayer outside of TABOR limits in 1993. Fast forward to 2019 and spending has increased so 69% of the sate budget is outside of Tabor limits which amount to $5,787 per taxpayer. The con seems to be with fees versus taxes.

To continue reading this Letter-to-the-Editor, please click (HERE):

Sep 13

Opinion: Chuck Wibby: Kill the fee in wolf’s clothing

By Chuck Wibby

In 1992, Colorado voters passed the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR. The amendment to the Colorado Constitution is widely despised by elected officials at every level of government. It is also widely loved by the majority of taxpaying citizens who pay the bills to employ those same elected officials.

Among its other provisions, TABOR contained an exemption for fee-based services that the government provides to citizens. It was a logical concession. After all, if the city wanted to operate a parking lot, it would be impractical to have a vote every time the city wanted to increase the cost to park your car in their lot.

TABOR’s intent was that “government-owned businesses that provide goods or services for a fee or surcharge” are “paid for by the individuals or entities that are purchasing the goods or services.” This is in contrast to “government agencies or programs that provide goods or services that are paid for by tax revenue.” Letting no good deed go unpunished, it didn’t take the state too long to figure out how to take advantage of TABOR’s allowance for fee-based enterprises.

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