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.

Sep 24

State Senate race in Arvada could be tipping point for Colorado Legislature


ARVADA, Colo. — The presidential race is important. The U.S. Senate race is important. But because Washington is so gridlocked, there is a good chance not much will be done regardless of who wins.

TABOR reforms
Woods: Against changing TABOR (Good)
Zenzinger: Supports some changes, like hospital provider fee (Bad)

A different occurrence might unfold in Colorado if Democrats have their way in Senate District 19, a district made up mostly of Arvada.

Currently, Republicans hold a one-seat majority in the Colorado State Senate. Those Republicans often find themselves stopping legislation that the Democratic House and the Democratic governor want to pass.

On the front lines in the Republican fight to defend the Senate is Republican  incumbent Laura Woods.

“Industry and business want the Senate to remain in Republican hands,” Woods said as she knocked on doors Wednesday. Continue reading

Aug 06

Hate Big Government? Crush New Smoking Taxes

Hate Big Government? Crush New Smoking Taxes.

POSTED BY ON JUL 12, 2016 IN BLOG

Hate Big Government? Crush New Smoking Taxes.

 Aren’t you glad we live in a state where, due to TABOR, politicians have to ask us before soaking hardworking taxpayers? I like to call it “consensual taxation.”

In 2013, Coloradans overwhelmingly defeated Amendment 66, which would have been a $1 billion annual tax increase. The politicians wanted this tax increase, but the voters said no by a margin of 66-34. Thanks to TABOR, they had to ask us. We said politely declined.

This November, we will have the opportunity to vote on Amendment 69, which would create a single-payer health plan in Colorado at the cost of a new 10% payroll tax. It’s been widely panned, even by the Democrats, including US Senator Michael Bennet.

 

Continue reading

Jul 19

Lesley Smith and Laurie Albright: Sign a petition to de-fang TABOR

Yup, spend more.
That’s the blueprint for fixing everything.
According to them, more money will solve public education.
Obama’s $870 Billion dollar Stimulus failed because it was too little.
They wanted to spend more, more, more.
Then you looked at the results.
No improvement at all.
But we’re deeper in debt and they are none the wiser.
Thank God for TABOR!
The Colorado economy is booming now compared to during the recent recession, but because of a 26-year-old tax policy embedded in the Colorado Constitution (informally called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or “TABOR”), Colorado cannot invest all of its tax revenue to make up for cuts made during those harder economic times. Instead, the amendment says that all revenue collected above an out-of-date cap must be refunded to Colorado taxpayers. Each taxpayer received a refund of $13 to $41 this year, while our state continued to cut funds for basic infrastructure and services.

Continue reading

Jul 17

More Evidence that Balanced Budget Rules Don’t Work as Well as Spending Caps

More Evidence that Balanced Budget Rules Don’t Work as Well as Spending Caps

July 16, 2016 by Dan Mitchell

 

 

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If you asked a bunch of Republican politicians for their favorite fiscal policy goals, a balanced budget amendment almost certainly would be high on their list.

This is very unfortunate. Not because a balanced budget amendment is bad, per se, but mostly because it is irrelevant. There’s very little evidence that it produces good policy.

Before branding me as an apologist for big government or some sort of fiscal heretic, consider the fact that balanced budget requirements haven’t prevented states like CaliforniaIllinoisConnecticut, and New York from adopting bad policy.

Or look at FranceItalyGreece, and other EU nations that are fiscal basket cases even though there are “Maastricht rules” that basically are akin to balanced budget requirements (though the target is a deficit of 3 percent of economic output rather than zero percent of GDP).

Indeed, it’s possible that balanced budget rules contribute to bad policy since politicians can argue that they are obligated to raise taxes. Continue reading

Jun 24

Spring of inaction: 2016 legislative session proves Illinois needs a taxpayer bill of rights

Spring of inaction: 2016 legislative session proves Illinois needs a taxpayer bill of rights | Illinois Policy | Illinois’ comeback story starts here

Illinoisans need a taxpayer bill of rights so that politicians must ask permission from voters if they want to raise taxes.

Illinoisans need a taxpayer bill of rights so that politicians must ask permission from voters if they want to raise taxes.

Colorado adopted a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, as an amendment to the Colorado Constitution. The Colorado TABOR requires any government to seek voter approval before imposing a new tax or raising existing tax rates. The TABOR also contains a formula that determines how much in taxes a government can collect in a year, based on increases in population and inflation. If more revenues are collected than the formula allows, then the governing entity is required to reimburse the excess money back to the taxpayers.

A provision in Colorado’s TABOR allows excess revenues to be kept by the government if the taxpayers give voter approval through a ballot initiative. Anytime there is a proposal to raise taxes or keep excess tax revenues, the ballot must provide the following: information on the governing entity’s current and previous four years of spending, the proposed tax increase in percentages and estimated dollar amounts, and summaries of support for and opposition to the proposed tax increase.

 

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May 24

Two Decades of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR)

Executive Summary:
Over two decades have passed since Colorado voters adopted The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in 1992. TABOR allows government spending to grow each year at the rate of inflation-plus-population. Government can increase faster whenever voters consent. Likewise, tax rates can be increased whenever voters consent. This Issue Paper analyzes TABOR’s effect on state government spending and taxes by examining three decades: The 1983-92 pre-TABOR decade; the first decade of TABOR, 1993-2002; and the second decade, 2003-12. The final decade included the largest tax increase in Colorado history, enacted as Referendum C in 2005. Decade-2 was also marked by increasing efforts to evade TABOR by defining nearly 60% of the state budget as “exempt” from TABOR.

Conclusion:

Tax-and-Spending Limitation Results

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Amendment has worked well to achieve its stated intention to “slow government growth.”  Although government has still continued to grow significantly faster than the rate of population-plus-inflation, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights did partially dampen excess government growth.  It did not cut or reduce reasonable government growth.

In terms of economic vitality, Colorado’s Decade-1 was best for Colorado.  Unlike in the pre-TABOR decade, or in TABOR Decade-2 with its record increase in taxes and spending, because of Referendum C, Colorado’s first TABOR decade saw the state economy far outperform the national economy.

https://www.i2i.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/IP-4-2016_b.pdf

 

Two Decades of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR)