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.
The Reagan Club of Colorado was glad to host Penn Pfiffner at April’s meeting to talk about the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. TABOR has kept Colorado fiscally healthy, but look for it to come under assault by the Democrats this year. Learn more about the work that The TABOR Foundation and TABOR Committee do at http://thetaborfoundation.org/.
The new budget includes $300 million for road funding, which took much negotiating between majority Democrats and minority Republicans. It also includes $175 million for full-day kindergarten, less than Gov. Jared Polis requested, and a 3 percent raise for state employees.
Budget writers also had to pull $40 million from some state reserve funds.
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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
The Democratic-controlled legislature has had little trouble passing several controversial bills, leading to Republicans and grassroots groups calling for voters to recall some of the lawmakers behind the pieces of legislation that opponents say don’t represent the views of citizens.
Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly, and Democratic Gov. Jared Polis supports a vast majority of legislation Democratic lawmakers have passed or plan on passing.