Oct 02

Taxpayers Have Their Own Bill of Rights in Colorado. But Who Benefits?

Taxpayers Have Their Own Bill of Rights in Colorado. But Who Benefits?

The unique anti-tax tool has defined spending in the state, and it may spread to more states.
BY  OCTOBER 2017

Anti-tax advocate Douglas Bruce led the TABOR effort in 1992. “No one has had the impact on Colorado politics” that he has, according to one academic in the state. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

The blue tag on the streetlight outside Robert Loevy’s Colorado Springs home in 2010 didn’t signal an upcoming utility project. It was a receipt to show he had paid the $100 to keep his light on for the year. The city was facing a decimating $40 million budget gap and, among many other cuts, it was turning off one-third of its streetlights. That is, unless residents could come up with the money themselves. “I could afford to pay it,” Loevy says today, “but I have to think that would have been a stretch for many lower-income people.”

Loevy, a retired Colorado College professor, says the lights-out incident — which earned Colorado Springs international infamy that year — is just one of the many instances in which Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) has only benefited those taxpayers who can afford to pay for services out of their own pocket. Loevy has been a vocal critic of the law. As he sees it, “TABOR has had its worst effects on poor people.”

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Sep 11

Colorado’s hot property values are triggering tax cuts — and one local college is scrambling to offset the loss

Colorado’s hot property values are triggering tax cuts — and one local college is scrambling to offset the loss

Colorado Mountain College is pushing a ballot question to negate future cuts, but it may not be constitutional

In an unusual ballot measure that walks uncharted constitutional ground, the Colorado Mountain College plans to ask voters in six counties for blanket approval to offset any future property tax cuts triggered by the Gallagher Amendment.

CMC’s board of trustees late last month approved the referred measure, which would give the board permission to raise property taxes any time the state constitution requires a cut to residential property assessments.

The measure won’t erase the cut that Gallagher has already caused: an anticipated $2.78 million this fiscal year for the Glenwood Springs-based institution.

Click (HERE) to read the rest of this story about TABOR:

Sep 03

Judge to decide Fort Collins broadband ballot wording issue

The fate of a November ballot question that could lead to Fort Collins providing high-speed internet services is in the hands of Larimer County District Court judge.

Fort Collins resident Eric Sutherland and attorneys representing the city squared off in court Friday morning to argue about whether the content and form of the broadband ballot question meet legal requirements.

District Court Judge Thomas French has until Tuesday to decide whether to change the ballot language approved by City Council or let it stand.

The city’s deadline for certifying the ballot language to the Larimer County Clerk’s Office is Sept. 8. The county is coordinating the Nov. 7 election.

Sutherland raised five complaints about the ballot language, ranging from the lack of a comma, which he said made the question grammatically incorrect, to whether it complies with the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, or TABOR, amendment to the state constitution.

If approved, the measure would amend the City Charter to allow but not require the City Council to establish a telecommunications utility. The utility would be a standalone entity or part of the city’s Light and Power Utility.

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Aug 31

El Paso County initiative could jumpstart local funding for I-25

It’s your money.
TABOR allows you a vote to let the government keep it or if you would rather have it in your pocket.

El Paso County TABOR initiative could jumpstart local funding for I-25 widening

Posted: Aug 29, 2017 8:42 PM EDTUpdated: Aug 29, 2017 8:43 PM EDT

El Paso County initiative could jumpstart local funding for I-25

El Paso County could soon have a ballot initiative asking to keep close to $15 million in excess tax revenues. A large chunk of the excess money would go to the I-25 widening project.

El Paso County Commissioners unanimously passed the first reading of the ballot measure for TABOR dollars, next week will be a final decision for placing it on the November ballot.

The initiative would reset the budget cap to use that excess money and hopefully jump start local funding for the interstate project.

“I believe that local governments need to have skin in the game,” said El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller in April, pushing for local funding for the I-25 widening project at the newly formed I-25 Gap Coalition meeting made up of local municipalities along the front range.

Tuesday was the first step for Waller getting his wish of local funding after the state legislature couldn’t plan for infrastructure funding

 

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Mar 03

Tax Payer Bill Of Rights (TABOR) at center of heated debate

Taxpayers Bill of Rights foundation member Penn R. Pfiffner discusses TABOR at the event “Social Perspectives: conversation, debate and understanding.” The event was held by the Denver Post at the Denver Press Club on Feb. 28.
Photo by Taelyn Livingston • tliving4@msudenver.edu

Kristi Hargrove voted for Donald Trump in the last election. From Crested Butte, which she calls a liberal town, she identifies as a proud Republican.

“My daughter came home from school, she was in middle school, complaining about how cold she was at school,” Hargrove said. It was around 2003. “I said to her, well wear more clothes, because you never put on enough clothes.”

However, when Hargrove went to work on a student directory for her P.T.A., she had trouble because her fingers were freezing. After confronting the principle, she found out the school had turned down the utilities.

“We live in a fairly affluent area and I thought that was ridiculous,” she said. “My comment to her was, ‘who’s wasting money?’” Continue reading

Mar 03

TABOR reform measure passes first test with bipartisan support

photo - An effort to reform the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, or TABOR, passed its first test on Monday with Republican support. File photo.An effort to reform the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, passed its first test on Monday with Republican support. File photo.An effort to reform the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, passed its first test on Monday with Republican support, though the legislation faces an uphill battle.

Some TABOR observers call it progress that two Republicans are sponsoring the effort to change how the state calculates its spending cap.

The bill received bipartisan support from the House Finance Committee. It heads to appropriations for consideration.

Despite the bipartisan support, Rep. Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction and Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa, sponsors of House Bill 1187, are still mavericks on the subject though an evolution appears to be underway.

“Let’s merely take a look at TABOR one more time and see how it’s working over the last 25 years, and if it’s working we leave it alone, and if it’s not working we make an adjustment,” Thurlow said during a well-attended hearing at the Capitol.

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Mar 03

Panel Oks bill to ask voters about TABOR change

DENVER (AP) — The Latest on a bill to loosen a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights limit on Colorado state revenues (all times local):

5:20 p.m. p.m.

 A proposal by two Republican lawmakers to potentially increase how much revenue the state can keep without issuing tax refunds has passed a Colorado House committee.

The Democrat-led House Finance Committee voted 10-3 Monday to refer the bill by Republican Rep. Dan Thurlow and GOP Sen. Larry Crowder to the House Appropriations Committee.

Their bill would ask voters in November to change the way annual state revenue limits are calculated under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

It could allow the state to keep hundreds of millions of dollars for roads, education and other priorities.

Opponents argued that any proposed change to TABOR, a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1992, should be in the form of a constitutional amendment — not a statutory change called for by the bill.

Constitutional changes carry tougher ballot qualification and voter passage benchmarks.

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11:35 a.m.

Two Colorado Republicans want to loosen a constitutional restriction on how much revenue the state can receive without having to issue tax refunds.

Rep. Dan Thurlow and Sen. Larry Crowder say it’s time to have a conversation about those limits 25 years after voters approved them under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

Republicans long have opposed TABOR tampering, arguing excess revenues belong to taxpayers.

But Thurlow and Crowder say individual refunds would be pocket change when the state faces a $500 million budget deficit.

Their bill would ask voters in November to change the way TABOR’s annual revenue limits are calculated. It would potentially allow the state to keep hundreds of millions of dollars for roads, education and other priorities.

A House committee hears testimony on the bill Monday.

http://www.thechronicle-news.com/news/ap_news/the-latest-panel-oks-bill-to-ask-voters-about-tabor/article_9bc10e21-8358-5db0-b641-368887a6a572.html