Mar 11

House Bill 1187: Why should state government get to spend more just because people work more?

A Republican-sponsored bill in the Colorado legislature would likely let state government keep more of your tax money whether it needs it or not.

In 2005, Referendum C suspended Colorado’s constitutional limit on the amount of tax revenues that the state could keep. Called the “TABOR timeout,” the Referendum allowed the state to reset the limit on state revenue collection at the highest amount of annual revenue received between June FY 2005-6 and FY 2009-10. Referendum C was a permanent tax increase. As the table below shows, it has increased Colorado state spending by an estimated $2.6 billion over the last decade. At present, only 38 percent of state spending remains subject to TABOR.

refcNow the tax and spend coalition wants more.

Some state officials are understandably delighted by any measure that relieves them of the drudgery of running the state on a tight budget. It is much less taxing to be a state legislator when revenues are rising than when they are falling. When spending must be cut, difficult choices are required. No one is happy. Continue reading

Mar 05

Reflecting on 25 years of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (4 letters)

Reflecting on 25 years of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (4 letters)

By DP OPINION | openforum@denverpost.com

March 4, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Jeff Neumann, The Denver Post; photos provided by Thinkstock by Getty Images

Re: “Has TABOR been a good deal?” Feb. 26 Perspective section.

Excellent coverage on both sides of this controversial issue with no surprise in their respective conclusions. Proponents of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights simply want the taxpayers to have a voice before taxes are increased beyond TABOR limits. The opponents want to return to the pre-TABOR days with little outside control over government growth and spending. TABOR works as intended. The vast majority of Colorado taxing entities that approached their voters with sound and justifiable projects were met with voter approval, including the statewide Referendum C issue.

Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s statement that Democrats are unified in their hatred of TABOR is not true. As The Post reported, “Since 1993, statewide voters have approved only five tax increases out of 17 ballot questions.” Rest assured, countless Democrats (myself included) were among those voters opposing any override or change in TABOR. Moreover, it is two Republican legislators who are currently sponsoring House Bill  1187 to decrease taxpayers’ refunds in future years.

Carl Miller, Leadville

The writer is a former Colorado legislator.

Re: “Break antiquated Colorado tax policy free of TABOR,” Feb. 24 Tim Hoover column.   Continue reading

Feb 26

After 25 years, TABOR still works for you

Douglas Bruce, author of the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, is pictured in 2005 working on the campaign against Referendum C .

By Penn R. Pfiffner and Douglas Bruce | Guest Commentary

PUBLISHED: February 24, 2017 at 1:01 pm

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights works for you and its 25th anniversary this year is worth celebrating. Once again in 2017 you need to protect TABOR from the political elite attacking it.

TABOR belongs to you. It is how you set a broad control on government that must answer to you and your fellow citizens. It has succeeded in keeping a better balance between costly government programs and healthy family budgets.

Everyone has to live within a budget. That’s just life. Staying in budget brings stability to your family and helps you choose the most important ways to spend your money. The value of living within a budget applies not just to individuals and families, but also to government. That’s just smart — and fair.

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

Feb 19

25 years of TABOR, share your thoughts

Karl Gehring, Denver Post file

The late state Sen. Ken Gordon carries a sign at the Colorado Capitol showing support for Referendums C and D in September 2005. That was the last time voters were asked to allow the state to escape some of the spending limits under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Voters passed one proposal and killed the other.

By DP OPINION | openforum@denverpost.com

February 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Next Sunday’s Denver Post Perspective section will be dedicated to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, which Colorado voters passed 25 years ago. Please send us your thoughts on TABOR: Is it working or not? Should it be amended? Should it be repealed? E-mail us at openforum@denverpost.com with the subject line “TABOR.” Keep your comments to no more than 150 words. We will publish a selection of your responses in Sunday Feb. 26.

Writers will include Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, TABOR author Douglas Bruce, and more.
Additionally on Tuesday, Feb. 28 The Denver Post, Denver Press Club and the Colorado Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America will host a Social Perspectives event at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Pl. Readers can come and ask questions of the writers and experts who tackle TABOR in Sunday’s Perspective section. The event — free and open to the public — is intended to promote friendly nonpartisan conversations about one of the most controversial topics in our state.

 

25 years of TABOR, share your thoughts

Jan 11

All the taxes you cannot see

Colorado Capitol Dome

Seeing is believing. So, it’s no wonder many in government prefer to work in the dark.

It’s not just that they don’t want us to know what they’re fully doing. They don’t want us to know what we’re fully paying. The reason for this emotional manipulation is clear. If the cost of government is hidden into the cost of our daily lives, we feel like we’re not paying as much as we really are.

As the state legislative session gears up our governor will try to get you to feel you’re not paying a massive tax called the Hospital Provider Fee. He, in concert with everyone who wants to increase taxes in every conceivable way except actually asking voters first, will pressure the legislature, via the new senate president, to embrace this dark money ploy.

This is nothing new. Colorado is chalk full of schemes to turn your tax money dark.

One of the biggest emotional manipulations is employee withholdings. Why in the world is it our employer’s job to collect our taxes? Imagine how you’d feel about your money going to government if you had to write out a check every month along with your other bills. And you think you gripe about your cable bill?

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

 

Oct 27

The State Taxathon Public unions are behind tax increase initiatives from coast to coast.

The State Taxathon

Public unions are behind tax increase initiatives from coast to coast.

PHOTO: ISTOCK

In California unions are seeking to extend a 2012 ballot referendum that raised taxes on individuals making more than $250,000 and bumped the top rate on income above $1 million to 13.3% from 10.3%. Proposition 55 would postpone the income surtax’s scheduled sunset by 12 years to 2030. Ergo, another “temporary” tax increase becomes permanent.

A mere 1% of California earners account for about half of the state’s income-tax revenues and a third of the budget. Since 2012 California’s coffers have grown by nearly 40% thanks to large capital gains. About two-thirds of the new revenues have gone to schools, but for the teachers union it’s never enough.

 A recent Field Poll shows voters favoring the tax extension by two to one. Opponents have raised $3,000. Labor groups and hospitals—Medicaid would get a dedicated share of the revenues—muzzled the opposition by vilifying donors to the antitax campaign in 2012 and dumping $60 million into this year’s initiative.

Maine is following California’s leftward lead with an initiative to impose a three-percentage-point surcharge on household income exceeding $200,000 per year—regardless of whether the taxpayer files as an individual or jointly. If enacted, Maine would lay claim to the second highest top individual rate in the country at 10.15% after California’s 13.3%

 

Continue reading

Oct 19

The Purpose Of TABOR With Our Communications

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TABOR supporters,

First of all, Thank You for being a member of the TABOR email list!

Emails you receive relay articles and information that both promote, as well as oppose, TABOR.
We don’t always provide articles that endorse TABOR.
It’s important to know the enemy.
You’re smart enough to realize our position advocating for and defending TABOR but we want you to see both sides of the issue.
After all, if TABOR wasn’t around, you and your fellow Coloradans would be paying much higher taxes.

You’re welcome to share TABOR emails to your contacts, along with our website, http://thetaborfoundation.org/
If you’re on Facebook, please “Like” and check out our TABOR page, https://www.facebook.com/coloradoTABOR/
People can join our email distribution list by sending an email with “subscribe” in the subject line to info@TheTABORCommittee.com .
And we do accept donations to help defray the cost of protecting your Taxpayer Bill Of Rights.
Thank you, again!

Any questions, please let us know.
We’re always willing to listen.
Warmest regards,

Your TABOR Board of Directors

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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.

Continue reading

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

Young: Raise the bar? Not if we can’t be rid of TABOR

I’ve got a four-word reason not to vote for Proposition 71, the Nov. 8 ballot issue that would make it harder to amend the Colorado Constitution.

Four words: Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights.

Now, understand: I agree with the sentiment behind Proposition 71. It’s just that voters should fear the likely result: a lifetime of TABOR.

I say this while admitting that proponents of 71 are right. The state constitution is too easy to amend. And TABOR is prima facie evidence of that.

Based on how TABOR has impacted Colorado, the last thing voters should want to do — particularly the voters of Fort Collins — is change the constitution in a way that makes it harder to amend TABOR out of it.

No, don’t make it harder to revoke bad fiscal policy. Give smart fiscal policy an even chance to win.

TABOR, approved by voters in 1992, is not just bad policy, it’s the worst policy Colorado voters ever conjured. Its spending limits impede lawmakers from making the most fundamental policy decisions, whether they involve highways or schools, water or the environment.

When bad economic times hit, state services get clobbered. When good times come around, those services are prevented from reclaiming what ground they lost. TABOR is to blame.

TABOR causes the state to do crazy things like ask voters for permission to spend money they’ve authorized. Right now Fort Collins voters are being asked that very thing. Continue reading