The skyline is backlighted as the sun sets late Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Denver.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
(The Center Square) – Colorado businesses are opposed to lawmakers increasing taxes during the upcoming legislative session, according to a new survey on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the state’s businesses.
The survey, conducted by the Colorado Chamber of Commerce, found 87% of respondents want lawmakers to avoid “increases in taxes on businesses.”
Of the survey’s respondents, 80% of businesses said they want lawmakers to implement COVID-19 liability protections, and 56% want exceptions in public health orders to allow businesses to stay open if they meet or exceed guidelines.
“The economic fallout from COVID-19 can be felt among businesses of all sizes throughout the state,” Chuck Berry, president of the Colorado Chamber, said in a statement.
By The Editorial Board
Dec. 6, 2020 5:43 pm ET
PHOTO: CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGES
The outcome of the presidential race isn’t the only election result being contested in Arizona, and the other has even greater consequences for the law. Last week two lawsuits were filed against Proposition 208, the ballot initiative that imposes a new 3.5% tax surcharge to raise an estimated $827 million for education. It passed with 51.7% of the vote.
The suits are challenging whether Prop 208, which passed as a statute, must conform to the state constitution. One suit was filed by businesswoman Ann Siner and retired judge John Buttrick, the other by the Goldwater Institute, the influential Arizona think tank.
The suits claim that Prop 208 contradicts a constitutional amendment that limits the amount of revenue provided to school districts each year. It also overrides another constitutional provision requiring a two-thirds majority of the Legislature to approve a tax increase.
The Legislative Council, a nonpartisan legislative office that reviews bills and ballot measures for form and constitutionality, held that Prop 208’s language exempting the money it raises from an existing cap on education spending “is likely invalid” because it violates express constitutional limits. Supporters went ahead anyway. The state Supreme Court declined to rule on claims that Prop 208 unconstitutionally curtails the Legislature’s authority but said it couldn’t consider the issue until it passed.
And how, at the same time, progressives duped them into massive tax increases elsewhere.
Proposition 116 reduces the state’s flat income-tax rate from 4.63 percent to 4.55 percent, and Proposition 117 requires the legislature to receive voter approval of large new government fees.
Most outcomes from Colorado’s 2020 ballot come as no surprise in a state now largely dominated by the Left. Democrats flipped a seat in the state senate while losing nothing. The Republican-to-Democrat ratio in the House remained unchanged. Voters rejected a ban on abortion after 22 weeks of gestation. The state agreed to join the National Popular Vote compact. Environmental activist groups won on Proposition 114, a measure to introduce gray wolves to the Colorado Rockies. The tax and fiscal issues, however, have left many Colorado policymakers and pundits baffled.
Click the following link to watch TABOR Committee Chairman Penn Pfiffner explain it to Brandon Wark of Free State Colorado.
He also goes in depth to show why Colorado voters should vote YES on Proposition 117.
As the grassroots organization Vote on Fees points out, with liberal majorities in the legislature the Taxpayer Bill of Rights is the only thing preventing Democrats from going completely out of control at the state capitol.
Colorado’s state legislature uses the word “FEE” to grow state programs and spending without having to ask Coloradans for the permission to raise taxes required under our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Massive revenue increases like FASTER (car registration) fees, are taxes coming out of our pockets to pay for state programs, and should go through the same voter approval process as all tax increases. It’s not complicated — just ask the people.
Two-thirds of state revenue now falls outside of TABOR. We need to do a better job of managing our state’s more than $30 billion budget. The status quo of continuing to grow and create new state programs and finance them off of “fees” needs to end.
Democrats have recently been using fee increases as an end-run around the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, a state Constitutional amendment that gives voters the final say on all statewide tax increases. The recent use of “fees” to short-circuit our Constitutional rights is extremely troubling, and fiscally responsible voters need to put a stop to it immediately.
Prop 117 is a major threat to Democrats and their socialist vision for Colorado.
Thomas Jefferson pointed out that “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. That government is best which governs least.” As taxpayers, our wisdom was used by voting on an amendment back in 1992 to limit state spending to about the same as state growth — well known as the TABOR Amendment.
This has almost worked to keep the state from taxing us out of our hard-earned wages or profits. The problem is those in government always want to spend on their pet programs and have found a way around what we taxpayers have established as a very fair limit on government spending. We elect those to our legislature to care for our state and control our government so we can carry on with our own lives and families. That confidence really can be disappointing as the con in confidence can also be the con in conman.
According to The Common Sense Institute, a business-oriented coalition, the state budget was spending 46% or $2,403 per taxpayer outside of TABOR limits in 1993. Fast forward to 2019 and spending has increased so 69% of the sate budget is outside of Tabor limits which amount to $5,787 per taxpayer. The con seems to be with fees versus taxes.
By Chuck Wibby
In 1992, Colorado voters passed the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR. The amendment to the Colorado Constitution is widely despised by elected officials at every level of government. It is also widely loved by the majority of taxpaying citizens who pay the bills to employ those same elected officials.
Among its other provisions, TABOR contained an exemption for fee-based services that the government provides to citizens. It was a logical concession. After all, if the city wanted to operate a parking lot, it would be impractical to have a vote every time the city wanted to increase the cost to park your car in their lot.
TABOR’s intent was that “government-owned businesses that provide goods or services for a fee or surcharge” are “paid for by the individuals or entities that are purchasing the goods or services.” This is in contrast to “government agencies or programs that provide goods or services that are paid for by tax revenue.” Letting no good deed go unpunished, it didn’t take the state too long to figure out how to take advantage of TABOR’s allowance for fee-based enterprises.
Colorado voters this November will make decisions on nearly a dozen proposed changes to the state’s laws and constitution. It’s one of the longest statewide ballots in recent history, with three measures referred by state lawmakers, seven proposals from citizen groups and one effort to repeal a recently-passed state law.
The decisions voters make on these questions will affect Colorado’s tax rates, government budgets, ecology and more. Many of these measures are supported and opposed by a range of organizations. CPR News is including those listed on the Secretary of State’s website or who are actively campaigning.
Colorado voters can choose to affirm or reject the legislature’s 2019 decision to join the National Popular Vote Compact. The Democratic-backed law could eventually bind Colorado and other states to commit their presidential election votes to the candidate who wins the most votes nationally, rather than the candidate who wins the state.
The Question: Should Colorado reintroduce gray wolves on certain lands west of the Continental Divide? If approved, it could help an endangered species recover its place in Colorado’s ecology, but the measure faces criticism from ranchers who fear they’ll lose livestock to the predators. Read more from CPR. Read the initiative text.