What is House Bill 1187?
HB1187 would allow the government budgets at all levels to grow much larger each year by changing the current growth formula of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. The current automatic increase uses the previous year’s budget and adds the growth in population plus inflation. Under the existing formula, Colorado’s State budget has grown an average of 4.7 percent a year for the past 25 years that TABOR has been in effect.
The new formula would replace the growth rate with the growth in personal income, averaged over five years. With that substitution, the TABOR limit would soar.
The measure is sponsored by Rep. Dan Thurlow (R-Grand Junction) and Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa County).
A fatal flaw in the proposal.
This bill is a very sneaky effort to avoid the constitutional rules altogether. The rules say that the state constitution cannot be changed by passing a law. This proposed measure says it can change a foundational definition in the constitution with a new law. It does not ask simply for the state to keep the excess of taxes collected for some number of years. It is a permanent change in how each TABOR limit is set. That’s a fundamental change to the constitution. Continue reading
Penn Pfiffner, who is probably the foremost authority on TABOR in the state, a former Colorado legislator, and member of the TABOR Committee Board of Directors, will testify about this
Dear Mr. Pfiffner,
Thank you for speaking with me about logistics. Here are some of the things to keep in mind for remote testimony:
We are anticipating 10-15 minutes for your testimony followed by an opportunity for committee members to ask questions. I anticipate that the Q&A segment will last anywhere from 10-15 minutes.
At the beginning of the hearing Senator Dunleavy will introduce you. He will then ask you to state your name for the record and begin your testimony. Upon completing your prepared testimony we will allow time for questions. When a senator asks you a question you are able to respond to that individual “through the chair.” For example: Continue reading
The Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), also known as Initiative 1, was on the November 3, 1992 ballot in Colorado as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The famed measure, thought up by Douglas Bruce, requires statewide voter approval of tax increases that exceed an index created by combining inflation and population increases.
Text of measure
See also: Colorado State Constitution, Article X
The language appeared on the ballot as:
|“||Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution to require voter approval for certain state and local government tax revenue increases and debt; to restrict property, income, and other taxes; to limit the rate of increase in state and local government spending; to allow additional initiative and referendum elections; and to provide for the mailing of information to registered voters?||”|
Kerr v. Hickenlooper
See also: Kerr v. Hickenlooper
A lawsuit regarding Initiative 1 will likely have far reaching effects for other TABOR laws around the country and direct democracy, in general. A lawsuit was filed with U.S. District Court in Denver, with plaintiffs arguing that the amendment is unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed during the week of May 27, 2011, by 34 bipartisan plaintiffs, according to reports.
According to Doug Bruce, author of the citizen initiative, if the lawsuit is successful in its efforts, it could allow lawmakers unlimited power, and could be extremely detrimental to citizen initiative efforts in the state of Colorado. Bruce stated: “This isn’t only attacking Colorado. The consequences of a ruling in their favor would invalidate the Constitution in all 50 states, and would also mean no limits on the federal government. We would have anarchy.”
However, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, David Skaggs, stated that the measure limits state legislators and conflicts with both the state and United States constitutions. Skaggs also argues that other initiatives have been overturned, but that it did not negatively affect the process. Skaggs commented: “Courts won’t reach beyond the narrow question presented. Yes, we got to this issue by initiative”, but the lawsuit targets TABOR and not citizens’ initiatives.
The case’s impact expanded significantly due to the consideration of a Guarantee Clause argument. In 2012, Colorado District Court Judge William J. Martínez ruled in favor of allowing the case to proceed. However, Martínez’s ruling noted the history of seeing the Guarantee Clause as not justiciable or capable of judicial resolution, and said, “the Court determines that it cannot summarily conclude that Plaintiffs’ Guarantee Clause claim is per se non-justiciable”
The defense appealed the decision to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. In March 2014, the court ruled that the case was justiciable. The court further denied a petition for rehearing en banc in July 2014. Some consider the case likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
CUT Membership Event
Legislative Session Kickoff and Award Recognition
Award Winners: Senate Champion Vicki Marble
House Champions Janak Joshi and Lori Saine
Senate Guardian Jerry Sonnenberg
House Guardian Stephen Humphrey
Guest Speakers: Senate President Kevin Grantham, House Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist
Where: Independence Institute Freedom Embassy
727 16th Ave. Denver, CO (Free Parking)
When: Thursday, January 19, 2017 Registration: 7:00am
Cost is $15.00. $5.00for those paying 2017 CUT membership
Breakfast treats by Chick-fil-A
RSVP: 303-747-2159 or firstname.lastname@example.org
PO Box 1976, Lyons CO 80540 Taxpayer Hotline 303-494-2400
Web Site: www.coloradotaxpayer.org
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.
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.
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.
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
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.