Oct 12

The attacks on TABOR continue

October 11, 2015

By Amy K. Frantz , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Do Legislators have a Constitutional right to impose taxes on citizens and to deny citizens any veto power over those actions? A group of politicians in Colorado seems to think so, and are continuing their quest to overturn the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, from the Colorado State Constitution.

In Colorado, citizens are permitted to place measures on the ballot by initiative petition, and in 1992 the TABOR Constitutional Amendment was adopted by Colorado voters. TABOR requires majority voter approval to increase tax rates, to take on new debt, or to increase spending more than the rate of inflation plus state population growth.

In the original provisions of TABOR, any revenue collected in excess of the spending limit, plus an emergency relief fund of 3 percent of fiscal year spending, had to be returned to the taxpayers in the form of rebates. However, in 2005 Colorado voters approved a measure to forego the rebates for five years, following a scare campaign conducted by the state’s big spenders.

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Oct 11

YES: It’s what voters wanted

Employee Nikki Desiderio explains different marijuana products to customers at the Helping Hand recreational marijuana store in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso,Employee Nikki Desiderio explains different marijuana products to customers at the Helping Hand recreational marijuana store in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso, Daily Camera)

Opinion

YES: It’s what voters wanted

Proposition BB, the only statewide issue in Colorado’s elections this November, asks voters to “allow the state to retain and spend $66.1 million, which has already been collected, rather than refund it to taxpayers.”

Supporters of limited and cost-effective government understand the importance of reminding politicians and bureaucrats whose money they’re spending. Refunds of tax revenue are perhaps the single most-effective way of doing so. However, Proposition BB relates specifically to the refund of excise and sales taxes on marijuana, taxes approved by Colorado voters in 2013 through Proposition AA as required by the 2012 passage of Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado.

If BB were to fail, the functional impact would be for the state not to have collected any of the voter-approved 15 percent state excise tax or 10 percent state sales tax on retail (non-medical) marijuana sales.

Two key points, as explained by the Legislative Council staff:

To continue reading this story, click this link: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_28945795/yes-its-what-voters-wanted

 

Oct 03

Political diatribe

We saw this on Facebook:

Warning: Political diatribe to follow….

Love it when our state government tries to raise our taxes via a ballot initiative in a non election year. (insert sarcasm font)

This November 3, 2015, Colorado has an election in which the only issue is Prop BB, which states “allow the state to retain and spend 66.1 million, which has already been collected, rather than refund it to taxpayers”. as, note, is required by Colorado state law.

Hell no. I don’t care if my refund is only $16. It is my $16 to decide what to do with, not some wasteful government bureaucracy’s. They have enough money. If they did actually not, they would not be afraid to put this prop thru during an actual election year when people are paying attention.

If you live in Colorado, this November please vote on this. Either for or against is up to you of course, but do not let this issue be decided by an unrepresentative minority.

Thanks.

end political diatribe:

Sep 02

Carroll: Averting a Colorado budget smashup

Why don’t we save the esteemed Dan Ritchie and his bipartisan group of civic-minded bigwigs a lot of time and trouble?

The former chancellor at the University of Denver and his allies who’ve founded Building a Better Colorado are going to spend months in meetings and outreach trying to identify measures for next year’s ballot to address the unique challenges in governing this state.

They’ve got former governors, senators and mayors on board, not to mention current Gov. John Hickenlooper.

 

To read the rest of this article, click the following link:
http://www.denverpost.com/carroll/ci_28720814/carroll-averting-colorado-budget-smashup

Sep 02

Blake: Sabotaging TABOR comes down to a single subject

Blake: Sabotaging TABOR comes down to a single subject

When it comes to sabotaging TABOR, term limits and the initiative process, the usual suspects tend to round themselves up.

The latest group, called “Building a Better Colorado,” is fronted by the otherwise estimable Dan Ritchie, who served 15 years as chancellor of the University of Denver, taking no pay and donating his $50 million ranch to the school.

The organization intends to hold “town hall meetings” throughout the state and produce a report recommending changes by year’s end.

Presumably most of these changes would necessitate ballot initiatives, since it’s hard to get the two-thirds majorities needed in the legislature to place referendums.

Photo and copyright: Tony's Takes -  used by permission

By proposing initiatives they are going to have to confront the awkward single-subject rule. More on that later.

Despite the clarity of their goals, the reformers like to talk in tiptoe-through-the-tulips terms. “It is subtle,” Gail Klapper of the Colorado Forum told The Denver Post, adding the discussions are about “nuanced changes” allowing Colorado “to move forward in the way we all want it to go.”

The Colorado Forum is just one of several civic groups behind Ritchie’s efforts. Its goals aren’t that subtle. It says on its Web site that “Colorado’s fiscal system has a structural imbalance — created by inherently conflicting constitutional mandates — that will continue to result in a widening gap between General Fund revenue and necessary expenditures.”

However “necessary” might be defined. The Forum goes on to recommend that TABOR-mandated refunds to the people be postponed and “revenue sources” not subject to the revenue cap be considered. Presumably that means imposing more “fees” instead of taxes that require a popular vote.

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Aug 24

Aurora right to walk away from appeal on Gaylord tax vote

AURORA, CO. - APRIL 21: Dan Steel of Mortenson Construction surveys land for the Gaylord Rockies Hotel development Tuesday morning, April 21, 2015. The controversial hotel will be Colorado's largest at 1,500 rooms and will take 36 months to complete. (Photo By Steve Nehf/The Denver Post)

AURORA, CO. – APRIL 21: Dan Steel of Mortenson Construction surveys land for the Gaylord Rockies Hotel development Tuesday morning, April 21, 2015. The controversial hotel will be Colorado’s largest at 1,500 rooms and will take 36 months to complete. (Photo By Steve Nehf/The Denver Post)

Aurora officials last week were wise to walk away from an appeal of a February court ruling that invalidated the creation of a special tax district for the Gaylord Rockies Hotel and Conference Center.

The creation of the district was a farce and clearly subverted the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, which stipulates that local governments cannot raise taxes without voter approval.

Only one voter cast a ballot in the election in 2011 that created the taxing district, which would have collected increased lodger taxes and admission taxes on land set aside for the hotel.

That voter wasn’t even a resident of the city but a representative of the owner of the land where the hotel is to be built.

To read the rest of this article, click the following link:
http://www.denverpost.com/editorials/ci_28682010/aurora-right-walk-away-from-appeal-gaylord-tax

Jun 14

800 YEARS STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

800 YEARS STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Eight hundred years ago on 15 June 1215, the English people compelled King John to endorse the Great Charter – Magna Carta.  The Great Charter confirmed the ancient rights of “all the community.”  So what?  Magna Carta is the foundation of America’s Constitution, our defense against tyranny, corruption and civil decay.

English people rebelled against King John’s lawless, inept, profligate and despotic government.  For years they had struggled to restrain John’s abuses, reminding him of the solemn contract to which he had sworn at his coronation.

Magna Carta enumerated specific rights so that henceforth neither a ruler nor his officials could legally sidestep their obligations.  Magna Carta stipulated that they were, like all the people, subject to the law.  No one is above the law.  That was the fundamental point of the Great Charter.

Magna Carta was Europe’s first written constitution, a thorough reform grounded in the ancient understanding that the people ruled through their chosen leader, who retained office only to the extent that he fulfilled his sworn duties and honored the law.  It is the foundation of individual freedom and our bulwark against arbitrary despotism.

History is our story.  History reveals people’s recurring efforts toward a balance of leadership’s role and individual liberty.  Freedom requires constant, courageous vigilance.  Freedom requires each individual’s active commitment, again and again.

Today, nurtured in our culture of individual liberty, we may not recognize that it is rooted in centuries of courageous striving and thus merits our continued reverence.

So, please celebrate freedom on 15 June.

 

Peg Brady

TABOR Committee and TABOR Foundation Board member