Senate District 22 Republican out-raising Democrat in year of race for control
July 24, 2018 By Sherrie Peif
LAKEWOOD — Republican Senate District 22 candidate Tony Sanchez says there is no doubt a vote for him is a vote for the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).
Sanchez hopes to replace Andy Kerr, who is term limited, representing Ken Caryl, Lakewood and Edgewater. He firmly believes TABOR is the main reason Colorado weathered the recession the way it did.
“I was on the board of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, so I am somebody who unequivocally supports TABOR,” said Sanchez, whose challenger Democrat Brittany Pettersen while she was representing House District 28 voted to raise taxes and increase dept under Senate Bill 17-267, which some labeled as the biggest betrayal of TABOR since the Constitutional Amendment was passed in 1992. “Some say it’s an impediment, but it’s the only thing that kept the prosperity of Colorado in place.”
Sanchez said the real problem with the state budget is accountability and the confidence voters have in their legislators.
“What kind of confidence do voters have to raise any taxes if they don’t know where their money is going?” he said. “We have to defend TABOR. It’s a good thing for our citizens to have that voice, to be the final judgment when it comes to that as opposed to their legislator.” Continue reading
Bed tax law suit gets new life
DENVER — Ongoing litigation against the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing, among others, over a 2009 program that raised taxes via a “hospital provider fee,” has new energy after Cause of Action Institute announced earlier this month it would take on the representation of the plaintiffs in the case.
Cause of Action is a Washington D.C.-based 501(c)(3) organization that according to its website advocates for “economic freedom and individual opportunity advanced by honest, accountable, and limited government.”
Plaintiffs, who were originally represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation, had 60 days to find new counsel after Mountain States withdrew for reasons not related to the case or the plaintiffs.
Lee Steven and James Valvo are the lead attorneys. The Colorado-licensed attorney is Michael Francisco, who while working in the Colorado Attorney General’s office helped to write the defense of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) in Kerr vs. Hickenlooper, which claimed TABOR was a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of a republican form of government. That argument lost.
This case was initially filed in 2015. It asserts the state’s Hospital Provider Fee is actually a tax enacted in violation of the TABOR. Continue reading
High Court decision could send internet sales taxes to Durango
New revenue would help, but not solve, city’s long-term budget deficit
The city of Durango could see some additional tax revenue thanks to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on internet sales, but not enough to solve a projected municipal budget shortfall.
The Supreme Court recently ruled in South Dakota v. Wayfair that states and local governments can require remote retailers with no physical presence in a state to pay sales taxes.
“The Supreme Court has recognized that our tax system has changed, our economy has changed and we need to modernize,” said Ali Mickelson, director of legislative and tax policy with the Colorado Fiscal Institute, a nonpartisan organization.
The new sales tax revenues could bring in an additional $168 million to $262 million to the state of Colorado and local governments, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report.
But there are unanswered questions associated with the decision, including when new revenue will start to flow and how much local governments might receive.
“I don’t know that any experts are certain about what’s gong to happen,” Mickelson said.
The TABOR Foundation is suing the State of Colorado over the bed tax termed a “Hospital Provider” charge, which was imposed without voter approval in strict violation of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Our lawsuit had to be substantially amended when Senate Bill 17- 267 further flaunted the constitution by increasing the tax limit by $400+ million, defining the hospital welfare program as an off-the-books government business, issuing $2 billion in debt and much else – all without any regard to the requirements in TABOR.
In late March, we learned that our attorneys at Mountain States Legal Foundation had to withdraw. From our outside observation point, some internal reorganization appears to have been the reason. From everything that I have seen and heard, neither the TABOR Foundation nor the other three Plaintiffs contributed to the difficult situation.
In early April, Judge Buchanan gave us 60 days to find replacement counsel.
This email is a happy announcement that the TABOR Foundation met that deadline to recruit new attorneys and the hand-off is just about complete. Yesterday, the TABOR Foundation appeared at a new Hearing as ordered by Judge Buchanan. With us were the outgoing attorneys and participating by telephone were our new attorneys. One of the other Plaintiffs, Scott Rankin, also attended. The Court approved the substitution. We have pulled together another very strong team so the outlook is positive. Our new legal representation is by Cause of Action Institute, with Lee Steven and James Valvo stepping into the lead roles. Our Colorado-licensed attorney is Michael Francisco, who while working in the Colorado Attorney General’s office helped to write the defense of TABOR in Kerr vs. Hickenlooper.
Now that the legal activity may move forward, look for more communications about developments no later than the fall…..
Penn R. Pfiffner