Feb 14

Colorado House Rep Jovan Melton Said It’s None Of Taxpayer’s Business As To Where Taxpayer Money Is Spent

Ruh roh….
Colorado Rising State Action@COStateAction
 This says a lot. We need more accountability in state spending, not less.
Another reason we’re thankful for the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
Feb 14

Federal Spending Is Out Of Control, But State Lawmakers Are Introducing Reforms To Rein In The Growth Of Government

Americans are frequently told – by members of the media, candidates, and others – that political division is heightened in this consequential election year. Members of Congress, however, have reached bipartisan agreement that the federal government should spend more money than it brings in, even when the economy is growing and unemployment is low. Fiscal profligacy carries the day in Washington, yet lawmakers in state capitals are taking action to ensure that state spending and the size of government grows at a sustainable clip.

A member of the Wyoming Legislature, Representative Chuck Gray (R), introduced a joint resolution last week that seeks to limit the growth of the state budget and require voter consent for the approval of future tax increases. House Joint Resolution 2, introduced by Representative Gray on February 7, would amend the state constitution to include a “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” that would do two things: limit state spending to the rate of population growth plus inflation, and require all state tax hikes receive voter approval.

Representative Gray’s bill is inspired by Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). Like the TABOR measure now pending in the Wyoming statehouse, Colorado’s TABOR, which has been the law since it was approved by Colorado voters in 1992, requires that all state tax hikes receive approval from Colorado voters. Colorado’s TABOR also caps the increase in state spending at the rate of population growth plus inflation.

Colorado’s TABOR is the reason why Democrats who control the Colorado Legislature and would like to impose a host of tax increases are unable to do so. In November of 2019, Colorado voters affirmed their support for TABOR by rejecting Proposition CC, a measure referred to the ballot by legislative Democrats that would’ve gutted TABOR by ending the taxpayer refunds due in accordance with it.

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Feb 01

Ohio Residents Just Abolished Two Villages Over Tax Increases

November 26, 2019

Jared Walczak

Last week, a New York Times reporter reached out to ask if I had heard that the village of Amelia, Ohio was dissolving over a tax increase. Facing an unpopular new tax, voters went to the polls and just… abolished their local government.

I wasn’t aware of the drama bubbling up in Amelia (or in nearby Newtonsville, also dissolving over a new tax), but I wasn’t surprised, either. As the resulting Times article notes, at least 130 municipalities dissolved between 2000 and 2011, without, presumably, seeing the communities descend into anarchy. The loss of Amelia and Newtonsville brings the count of recently dissolved Ohio municipalities to 14. So what’s going on, and what do taxes have to do with it?

In most of the country, the governmental hierarchy is relatively straightforward: states are divided into counties, and those counties contain some range of municipalities—cities, towns, villages, boroughs, townships, hamlets, and the like. But, especially outside more densely populated regions, you can also find vast tracts of unincorporated land, where no (or limited) municipal government exists below the county level. Here, core services like police, fire, and emergency services, along with road maintenance and other government functions, are provided by the county or even the state, while more municipal-oriented services—water and sewer or waste management, for instance—are either privately provided or non-existent.

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Jan 29

GUEST COLUMN: No more kicking the can down the (potholed) road

“Then, when the money dries up, taxpayers are asked to raise taxes again. This happened just this last November, when Democrats tried to push Proposition CC as the solution to transportation funding.” – Sen Lundeen & Rep Carver

 

For years — decades even — Coloradans have called upon the General Assembly to prioritize Colorado’s outdated transportation infrastructure. Our elected officials have for so long kicked this proverbial can down the (potholed) road that the Colorado Department of Transportation now has a backlog of anywhere from $7 billion to $9 billion in projects. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly a fourth of Colorado’s entire budget this year.

We hear it all the time — where are the taxes we already pay going?

The truth is that the legislature has been using your tax dollars as a piggy bank for pet projects instead of utilizing them to fill potholes and add new highway lanes. Pet projects such as Senate Bill 19-173, a $800,000 study on the feasibility of the state government getting involved in your retirement savings, the creation of an “Office of Just Transition” that has been covered extensively in the press, and $6 million for unnecessary census outreach that wasn’t required by the federal government. These have all been priorities of legislative Democrats — not transportation.

Jan 19

2020 Triggers Blue State Tax Cuts, As Colorado Shows How To Insulate A State From Higher Taxes And Unsustainable Spending

The new year has brought reduced income tax rates to two Democrat-run states: Colorado and Massachusetts. These income tax cuts were the result of two and nearly three decade old laws that triggered this new round of income tax relief in the face of opposition from progressive politicians who control state government in Denver and Boston.

Massachusetts’ flat income tax rate dropped from 5.05% to 5.00% on New Years Day 2020, the result of a ballot measure approved by Massachusetts voters in the year 2000, the implementation of which was subsequently delayed by Massachusetts legislators. Colorado, like Massachusetts, is another state where the ruling political class saw an income tax cut that it opposed take effect on January 1, with the rate dropping from 4.63% to 4.5% for one year. This temporary rate cut is the result of a law approved by Colorado voters eight years before Massachusetts’ two decade-old tax cut-triggering ballot measure.

The temporary income tax cut that recently took effect in Colorado is due to the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), an amendment to the state constitution approved by voters in 1992 that to this day is the strongest taxpayer safeguard in the nation. Under TABOR, state revenue cannot grow faster than the combined rate of population growth and inflation. Any state revenue collected in excess of the TABOR cap must be refunded to taxpayers.

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