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

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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

Aug 22

Menten: How to weigh in on local TABOR ballot measures

Menten: How to weigh in on local TABOR ballot measures

One great, though lesser-known benefit provided in the Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) is the local ballot issue notice. This guide is sent by mail at least 30-days before the election to all households with one or more registered voters.

The TABOR ballot issue notice includes content and details about upcoming local ballot measures which increase taxes, add debt, or suspend government revenue limits. It includes a section where registered electors have the opportunity to submit FOR or AGAINST comments, up to 500 words each.

You should know that there are two types of TABOR ballot issue notices. One notice is for the statewide elections and commonly referred to as the “Blue Book.” The notice discussed here is for elections held by local governments such as a city, town, school district, or special taxing district. You could potentially get more than one of these notices in the mail.

Several years back, it was discovered that out that of some 300 local tax issues throughout the state during a ballot year, only 15 had the taxpayer’s voice printed in a ballot issue notice.  That’s only 5 percent!  You can make a big difference and amplify your voice by being an author of the next ballot issue notice where you live.  Considering that you reach thousands of voters, being able to submit comments in the TABOR notice costs almost nothing and takes relatively little time & energy.

Click (HERE) to continue reading the rest of this story:

Aug 22

El Paso County commissioners to mull placing tax question on November ballot

El Paso County commissioners to mull placing tax question on November ballot

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A man holds his son’s hand while his other child rides in a carrier on his back, adorned in a bear hat, during a Bear Run at Bear Creek Regional Park event in this file photo from November 2019.

El Paso County commissioners will take a closer look this month at a proposed November ballot question that, if voters approve, would use $15 million in excess government revenue to fund road infrastructure projects and deferred parks maintenance county officials say are sorely needed.

Commissioners will discuss the possible ballot question during the board’s regularly scheduled meetings Aug. 17 and 24. Residents can come to these hearings to offer input on the possible question before commissioners vote on whether it will make it onto the November ballot. Commissioners expect to vote on the matter Aug. 24.

Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, ties increases in most local government revenues to a formula based on population growth and inflation. Excesses can only be used for voter-approved purposes.

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