Oct 13

EDITORIAL: TABOR lawsuit misguided

50354_2201459078_608064_nPUEBLO CITY Schools (D60) Board of Education has joined a lawsuit that would overturn the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Pueblo County District 70 joined the federal case earlier.

Educators have been led to believe that repealing TABOR’s state and local tax and spending restrictions would trickle down into more legislative funding of the public schools. Not so fast. The state’s recent budget history says otherwise.

Since approved by the voters in 1992, TABOR has done what it promised to do, which is to require voter approval before taxes can be raised and to tie revenue increases to Colorado’s overall economic growth unless voters permit.

In fact, state revenues and spending have increased every year under TABOR even under the cap of combined growth in population and inflation.

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Oct 12

Letter: Don’t be misled by TABOR haters

In his Oct. 10 column, John Young got it wrong. Among the many poor interpretations he offers to oppose the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights is that it forces “crazy things like ask(ing) voters for permission to spend money they’ve authorized.” Much of his opinion piece attacks the part of TABOR that requires governments to get voter approval if the proponents of a tax increase don’t calculate the increase correctly.

However, that TABOR requirement leads directly to greater government accountability and transparency. That’s good.

Young misdirects his anger at the duplicate vote. He should instead direct his impatience at the inaccurate information offered by the tax increase proponents.

The Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights requires that you know what the cost will be for any new program or expansion of an existing program. You can weigh whether the price is worth it. The voter then can make an informed decision.

No one wants to give proponents of any measure the incentive to underestimate the cost. Yet, if low-balling the cost helps the measure to pass, there would be pressure for proponents to fudge the numbers. Better to get it right.

Whenever government will grow faster than the automatic increases allowed every year, the voter should know by how much. Voters must demand strict accountability and honesty in creating the estimates. Don’t let tax increase proponents hide the real cost of the programs; don’t let Young mislead you.

There are people who want government to increase its reach into our lives and to spend more of your money on public goods; these folks will always oppose the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights. Let them present their arguments fairly and truthfully, but they should not argue for eliminating honesty and accountability.

Penn R. Pfiffner, chairman of the TABOR Committee, is a former legislator who has been involved in fiscal policy issues for over three decades.

Oct 07

Will school districts make the difference in the legal fight against TABOR, Colorado’s tax law?

By Yesenia Robles
yrobles@chalkbeat.org
PUBLISHED: October 3, 2016 – 7:55 p.m. EDT

colorado-capitol-dome-tabor( Photo by Denver Post file )
A long-running legal challenge to Colorado’s constitutional amendment limiting tax revenues gained significant new allies Monday: school boards from five school districts.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th circuit ruled that the lawsuit brought in 2011 had no standing because the original plaintiffs were not “directly injured by the law.”

The hope is that adding school districts to the lawsuit will meet that standard, and convince a district court judge that the lawsuit should proceed.

The boards from Denver Public Schools, Boulder Valley School District, Pueblo City Schools, Cheyenne County School District and Gunnison Watershed School District joined the suit.
Mike Johnson, a Denver school board member, said in a statement that since TABOR was enacted 24 years ago, Colorado has dropped to No. 42 in the nation in public funding for education, more than $2,000 per pupil lower than the national average.

“We are joining this lawsuit to restore the ability of the DPS board and the legislature to fund public education at the level Colorado students deserve,” said Johnson, who made the case to his board colleagues last month to join the lawsuit.

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, was passed by voters in 1992. The law requires that local governments get approval from voters before raising taxes. It also limits the amount of taxes the government can collect, triggering refunds if revenues exceed an annually-adjusted cap, unless voters allow the government to keep the extra money. Continue reading

Oct 07

Colorado school districts join legal fight against TABOR

School officials say they have standing as plaintiffs because of drop in funding

Colorado school boards who claim Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights has decimated student funding have joined a five-year legal fight to have the law dismantled.

Five Colorado school boards have been added as new plaintiffs in the original federal lawsuit filed against the anti-tax measure, also known as TABOR. The suit was filed in 2011 and led by state Sen. Andy Kerr and House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst.

In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court returned the case to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver for further review. But in June 2016, the Court of Appeals determined the legislative plaintiffs did not have standing to sue. The case was then sent back to U.S. District Court.

Lawyers for the original plaintiffs hope to keep the suit alive with the addition of the school districts, saying the districts have legal standing to sue because they have been directly injured by TABOR.

To read the rest of the story, click (HERE):

Sep 24

State Senate race in Arvada could be tipping point for Colorado Legislature


ARVADA, Colo. — The presidential race is important. The U.S. Senate race is important. But because Washington is so gridlocked, there is a good chance not much will be done regardless of who wins.

TABOR reforms
Woods: Against changing TABOR (Good)
Zenzinger: Supports some changes, like hospital provider fee (Bad)

A different occurrence might unfold in Colorado if Democrats have their way in Senate District 19, a district made up mostly of Arvada.

Currently, Republicans hold a one-seat majority in the Colorado State Senate. Those Republicans often find themselves stopping legislation that the Democratic House and the Democratic governor want to pass.

On the front lines in the Republican fight to defend the Senate is Republican  incumbent Laura Woods.

“Industry and business want the Senate to remain in Republican hands,” Woods said as she knocked on doors Wednesday. Continue reading

Aug 06

Hate Big Government? Crush New Smoking Taxes

Hate Big Government? Crush New Smoking Taxes.

POSTED BY ON JUL 12, 2016 IN BLOG

Hate Big Government? Crush New Smoking Taxes.

 Aren’t you glad we live in a state where, due to TABOR, politicians have to ask us before soaking hardworking taxpayers? I like to call it “consensual taxation.”

In 2013, Coloradans overwhelmingly defeated Amendment 66, which would have been a $1 billion annual tax increase. The politicians wanted this tax increase, but the voters said no by a margin of 66-34. Thanks to TABOR, they had to ask us. We said politely declined.

This November, we will have the opportunity to vote on Amendment 69, which would create a single-payer health plan in Colorado at the cost of a new 10% payroll tax. It’s been widely panned, even by the Democrats, including US Senator Michael Bennet.

 

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Jul 22

Tenth Circuit Denies Rehearing in Colorado Tabor Challenge

Tenth Circuit Denies Rehearing in Colorado Tabor Challenge

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on July 19 rejected a request to rehear a challenge to Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
 
The one-sentence order from the three-judge panel likely signals the end of the road for Colorado Rep. Andy Kerr (D) and the other state lawmakers who joined him in his bid to reverse a 1992 constitutional amendment that requires a popular vote to raise taxes.
Jul 19

Lesley Smith and Laurie Albright: Sign a petition to de-fang TABOR

Yup, spend more.
That’s the blueprint for fixing everything.
According to them, more money will solve public education.
Obama’s $870 Billion dollar Stimulus failed because it was too little.
They wanted to spend more, more, more.
Then you looked at the results.
No improvement at all.
But we’re deeper in debt and they are none the wiser.
Thank God for TABOR!
The Colorado economy is booming now compared to during the recent recession, but because of a 26-year-old tax policy embedded in the Colorado Constitution (informally called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or “TABOR”), Colorado cannot invest all of its tax revenue to make up for cuts made during those harder economic times. Instead, the amendment says that all revenue collected above an out-of-date cap must be refunded to Colorado taxpayers. Each taxpayer received a refund of $13 to $41 this year, while our state continued to cut funds for basic infrastructure and services.

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Jun 20

Vote NO on Initiative 117

FYI, Vote NO on Initiative 117. Spread the word.
 

Initiative #117

State Spending
Proposes amending the Colorado statutes to:
  • allow the state to keep and spend all revenue it collects through June 30, 2026;
  • raise the limit on the amount the state may keep and spend beginning July 1, 2026; and
  • require that any money the state keeps over its existing limit be spent on education, transportation projects, mental health services, and senior services, rather than refunding the money to taxpayers.
initiative 117
http://www.leg.state.co.us/LCS/Initiative%20Referendum/1516initrefr.nsf/b74b3fc5d676cdc987257ad8005bce6a/d87ae53dd844f43a87257fae00744f6f/$FILE/2015-2016%20117v1.pdf