TABOR opponents, bored with chipping away at the law’s foundations, have broken out the chainsaws. On the one hand, legislative Democrats are ignoring the plain language of TABOR and unilaterally enacting a universal income tax increase without a statewide vote, by calling it a “fee.”
And on the other hand, they are proposing a ballot referendum to waive the law’s taxation restrictions. According to TABOR, any increase in general revenue above the previous year’s plus inflation and population increase must be refunded to the people. House Bill 19-1257 would remove that restriction, allowing the state to keep any and all tax revenue, forever.
In return, the money that was kept would go to transportation, transit, public education, and higher education. Theoretically, anyway. Such a deal might seem to have some superficial appeal to Colorado voters, but recent experience strongly suggests this may be a harder sell than proponents expect.
We don’t know where Referendum C dollars go
HB 1257 is Referendum C on steroids. In 2005, voters approved a temporary “time-out” from TABOR’s spending restrictions, allowing the baseline to grow at the inflation plus population formula regardless of what revenues actually did. Referendum C has allowed the state to keep about $17 billion, including over $1.2 billion in the last fiscal year alone.
Guest Opinion: Roads are the losers in 2019 Colorado Legislature
Fixing the crumbling and crowded roads across our state has been a talking point for politicians in Colorado for years, as the project backlog has grown to more than $9 billion.
Democrats who control the purse in the legislature don’t seem to feel any urgency to fix the funding issues creating the backlog. In his first address to the General Assembly, Governor Polis spent mere seconds talking about the underfunded transportation infrastructure, offering no real solution.
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TABOR Repeal Bill Passes Colorado House of Representatives without Single Republican Vote
House Democrats’ attempt to permanently pocket taxpayer refunds advances on party-line vote
DENVER, April 17, 2019 – Yesterday, Democrats in the Colorado House of Representatives voted to pass House Bill 1257, a measure that would require state taxpayers to permanently forego tax refunds in any year in which they overpay the state.
“Colorado Democrats claim that their proposed theft of taxpayers would fund critical services like education and transportation, but Speaker K.C. Becker admitted in a committee hearing that they couldn’t provide any assurances as to how this supposed ‘excess’ revenue would be allocated in the future,” said Amy Oliver Cooke, Independence Institute Executive Vice President and TABORYes coalition member. “This isn’t even the government’s money in the first place. It’s money that hardworking Coloradans overpaid into the system, as codified by our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Continue reading