Jul 31

Initiative to implement progressive state income tax fails to garner enough signatures to qualify for ballot

FILE - Election 2020 Colorado Primary
Election judge Michael Michalek, left, directs voter Nicholas Garza on where to pick up his ballot at a drive-thru location outside the Denver Election Commission building, Tuesday, June 30, 2020, in downtown Denver.

(The Center Square) – Supporters of an effort to implement a progressive state income tax system called it quits on Friday.

The Fair Tax Colorado campaign said it didn’t collect enough signatures to qualify Initiative 271 for the ballot in November, citing a petition process complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The campaign is ending today, but our ballot work will continue,” said the Colorado Fiscal Institute, one of the measure’s backers. “That’s because citizen initiatives are where tax policy is made in Colorado, and we need to keep Coloradans engaged on these critical issues.”

The measure proposed amending the state constitution and adjusting the state’s current 4.63 percent flat income tax rate according to income. Under the measure, taxpayers making $250,000 or less annually would have been taxed at 4.58 percent; those making $250,000 to $500,000 would have taxed at 7 percent.

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Jul 31

Signatures turned in for ballot initiatives on voter approval of fees, income tax cut measures

FILE - Election 2020 Colorado Primary
A voter casts her ballot at a mobile location in the Swansea neighborhood, Tuesday, June 30, 2020, in Denver.

(The Center Square) – Backers of two taxpayer-related ballot initiatives submitted petition signatures Thursday to the state Secretary of State’s office. 

Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, turned in 197,000 signatures for Initiative 306, which would cut the state income tax rate by 0.08 percent, from 4.63 percent to 4.55 percent.

The Denver-based free-market think tank says the measure is meant to help get “Colorado’s economy back to its former strength, by putting money back into the pockets of those who earned it.”

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Jul 22

Voting at a time when voting makes sense!

Voting at a time when voting makes sense!

July 2020

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) includes good government provisions that improve election procedures.

We know that voter turnout is highest for those people who will benefit most directly by the ballot measure.  One way to suppress voter participation is to hold an election at an unusual time or at an unexpected, inconvenient, or difficult time.

Before the Taxpayer‘s Bill of Rights, Colorado elected officials could schedule a special election for a new tax or for a debt measure.  Held in, say, February, the government could hope weather to be really foul, so that even the average taxpayer who thought to vote on the measure might think twice, while those proponents who would benefit from the new tax would be in the majority for whom it was worth the effort to slog to the polls.

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights ended that incivility to the citizen.  With TABOR, a vote must happen on the November general election ballot, or if there is a standard election in the spring, (common for many town and city elections) the measure can appear on that municipal ballot.  The only other time a TABOR measure may go before the voters is in odd-numbered years at about the time in November that a general election would take place.

Colorado constitution (Article X, Section 20) paragraph 3(a) states:  “Ballot issues shall be decided in a state general election, biennial local district election, or on the first Tuesday in November of odd-numbered years.”

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights greatly improved government operations beyond providing the taxpayer the power to vote on tax increases.

#TABOR
#ItsYourMoneyNotTheirs
#ThankGodForTABOR
#VoteOnTaxesAndFees
#WhyTABORMatters

 

 

 

Jun 16

Colorado Legislature gives final approval to a charitable bingo and raffles amendment, cigarette tax increase measure

FILE - Cigarettes

On June 15, the Colorado State Legislature sent two measures to the November 2020 ballot.

One measure would amend the state constitution to require charitable organizations to have existed for three years before obtaining a charitable gaming license instead of the current constitutional requirement of five years. The amendment would allow charitable organizations to hire managers and operators of gaming activities so long as they are not paid more than the minimum wage. Currently, the constitution requires those who operate charitable gaming activities to be a member of the organization working as an unpaid volunteer.

The other measure would increase cigarette taxes and create a new tax on nicotine products such as e-cigarettes. It would dedicate revenues to various health and education programs. The measure requires voter approval under TABOR since it would increase state revenue.

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Jun 11

Initiative backers want voter approval for big state fees; new enterprise bill cited as reason needed

Initiative backers want voter approval for big state fees; new enterprise bill cited as reason needed

TABOR is an amendment to the state Constitution requiring, among other things, that new or increased taxes be approved by voters.

The executive director of Colorado Rising State Action, Michael Fields, said Initiative 295, which would go into state statute, is more important now than ever as the state grapples with $3.3 billion in budget cuts and looks to find new sources of revenues.

Senate Bill 20-215 is “a perfect example of them trying to go around TABOR to raise revenue by calling them fees,” Fields said. “Clearly, this is the move they are going to make, raising taxes by calling them fees.”

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Jun 11

Editorial; Legislature plans to bury us in taxes

Never has one simple fact been so clear. Businesses fund everything. When shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19, the state government went from a nearly $1 billion revenue surplus to a $3 billion shortfall. Shuttered businesses don’t collect sales taxes, and their out-of-work employees don’t pay state income taxes.

Given the sorry state of our economy and state budget, business recovery should be the Legislature’s top priority. To help them recover and survive, lawmakers should reduce the burden of overhead. Give these struggling patients oxygen and support; bill them for it later.

Instead of helping businesses recover and survive, legislators want more money from them immediately. Toward that self-destructive end, Democrats introduced House Bill 1420 on Monday and passed it out of committee Tuesday with the session ending this week.

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May 28

TABOR Emergency Taxes at the State level

TABOR Emergency Taxes at the State level

Emergency taxes are a contingency written into the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.  In response to the decline in revenues due to the pandemic economic shutdown, activists on the Left are urging new and higher taxes using the emergency taxes clause.  Unfortunately, the General Assembly has put itself into an impossible situation that will prevent the imposition of any State emergency taxes.  Legislators’ dishonest dealings in good times removes this option today. Continue reading

May 28

From An Editorial On May 5, 2019: State Could Go Off A Fiscal Cliff

State could go off a fiscal cliff

By: Barry W Poulson
May 5, 2019

Colorado has created a fiscal cliff; the state is woefully unprepared for the revenue shortfall that will accompany the next recession. Citizens might be surprised to learn that the state has been pursuing imprudent policies that will result in a fiscal crisis when the next recession hits. It is important to understand how the fiscal cliff was created and what we can do about it.

Over the past two decades, Colorado has weakened the fiscal constraints imposed by the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights. TABOR limits the rate of growth in state spending to the sum of inflation plus population growth, regardless of the amount of revenue the state takes in.

But most state revenue is exempt from the TABOR limit. The exempt funds include the revenue from enterprises and the fees collected by government agencies, which have grown rapidly over this period. As a result, over the past decade TABOR has not constrained the growth in spending, and this year the state will spend virtually every dollar of revenue it takes in.

The fiscal cliff is also linked to a rapid growth in debt and unfunded liabilities. While limits are imposed on general obligation debt, there are no limits on the issuance of revenue bonds. These are bonds with a dedicated stream of revenue used to pay off the bonds over time. As state enterprises have grown they have saddled the state with greater debt burdens.

Increasing debt is also incurred in the form of unfunded liabilities. Despite the recent reforms enacted in the Public Employees Retirement Association, unfunded liabilities continue to increase. The official estimate of these unfunded liabilities is $32 billion; but with realistic assumptions regarding rates returns on assets, the actual unfunded liabilities are estimated to be in excess of $100 billion. Continue reading

May 26

TABOR and COVID 19: We’re All Gonna Pay

TABOR and COVID 19: We’re all gonna pay

Blog post by Christine Burtt
5/26/2020 – 4 minute read

Let’s face it.  You can’t shut down the economy, borrow trillions of dollars to subsidize households and businesses, and cause massive unemployment in the private sector without getting seriously upside down in tax revenues.

The Colorado state budget will be about $3.3B in the hole for FY2021, and that doesn’t include deficits in county and special district budgets.

If Legislatures over the years had honored the requirement of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to stash away an emergency fund, we’d have roughly $1B in cash right now.  Instead of a lockbox of cash, illiquid government buildings were determined to be assets counted toward the emergency fund. Anybody have cash to buy a government building?  But I digress….

In the Democrat-controlled Colorado Legislature, raising taxes is the easy answer to a budget shortfall. The short-term exercise is to reconcile what is “essential” vs “nice to have.”

In reality, government mandated services like administering food stamps, running elections, law enforcement, infrastructure, and paying public employee retirement benefits will be protected. But other programs funded for ideological wish-lists may be delayed – until they can raise taxes.

The most likely ways to raise taxes include: Continue reading