Americans for Prosperity offer ‘Road to Freedom’ to Colorado lawmakers
Author: Joey Bunch – January 17, 2018 – Updated: 19 hours ago
(Courtesy of Americans for Prosperity)
You won’t find Bob Hope or Bing Crosby but Americans for Prosperity are urging Colorado lawmakers to take the “Road to Freedom,” the conservative organization’s legislative agenda.
Colorado Politics scored an early review of the AFP’s positions on energy, education, transportation and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
You can read the document by clicking here.
“We made great strides in 2017 defending TABOR and advancing policies that promote economic freedom,” Jesse Mallory, AFP’s state director and the former Colorado Senate Republicans’ chief of staff, said in a statement.
This morning the TABOR Foundation brought a lawsuit before the Colorado Supreme Court. As the Plaintiff, we have charged that both Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) and its Scientific and Cultural Facilities District had violated the requirements of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights when they started imposing sales taxes on items that had been exempt; items that the Districts did not have voter approval to tax. The arguments were presented on appeal to the State’s highest court. Our Foundation was ably represented by attorney Steve Lechner of Mountain States Legal Foundation. He faced alone the four attorneys employed by the governments on the other side. Our side had lost at both the District (trial) level and at the Colorado Court of Appeals.
We knew going in that the Court is skewed to the Left and consistently finds reasons to subvert the clear language of TABOR. One Justice, Gabriel, asked a hypothetical about getting broad-brush voter approval that, because as the Justice admitted, it was not applicable to this case. Mr. Lechner nailed a question by Justice Marquez. She had asked him if a precedent out of Mesa County could mean that the entire argument about voting on a tax policy change was irrelevant as long as revenues did not exceed the overall District TABOR limit. Lechner cited to her chapter and verse on why the particulars of that precedent were wrong.
Steve Lechner also gave a summary that laid out the proper path for the Court to follow, showing that our lawsuit does not ask to have the statute declared unconstitutional, since it merely provides the necessary legislative permission for the newly imposed taxes. We don’t even ask that the relevant statute be overturned; only that the Districts then take the next logical step and ask the voters for permission to impose those taxes.
In my experience, we will have to wait several months for a Ruling to be issued. The TABOR Foundation thanks Mountain States Legal Foundation for its free representation and its thorough, excellent work. Both organizations has seen this through as far as we can, and the Supreme Court’s ruling will conclude the issue.
Chairman, TABOR Committee
TABOR questions stymie special Colorado legislative session
The biggest fight over whether to fix a drafting error in a state rural sustainability bill is whether the fix requires voter approval.
Senate Republicans are adamant that voters in affected special districts should weigh in. Democrats and those who have fought similar battles in the courts disagree.
Monday, the Legislature returned to the Capitol to fix a drafting error in Senate Bill 17-267, as ordered by Gov. John Hickenlooper, who had signed the bill May 30.
The bill consolidated two sales taxes on recreational marijuana – a state tax of 2.9 percent and a special tax of 10 percent – and raised the tax to a voter-approved maximum of 15 percent.
A program to explain how the state budget works, how the Gallagher Amendment impacts property taxes and how the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) affects local government will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. Friday at the Pueblo Convention Center.
The program, sponsored by the Pueblo West Citizens’ Council, will feature a presentation by the Colorado Fiscal Institute, an independent nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank.
According to the institute’s website, it “provides credible, strategic, independent and accessible information and analysis of fiscal and economic issues facing Colorado. Our aim is to inform and influence public policy debates and contribute to sound decisions that improve the well-being of individuals, communities and the state as a whole.”
A spokeswoman for the Pueblo West Citizens’ Council said the event is being put on because the group believes “that ‘we the people’ do a much better job of governing ourselves when we have all the available information in its most basic form. The truth, without spin, without any hidden profit agenda or emotional bias, no grandstanding or campaigning.”
The event is free and open to the public.
TABOR Committee featured at national ALEC conference in Denver
Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) was in demand at the 44th Annual American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting held at the Hyatt Convention Center in Denver at the end of July. The TABOR Committee board of directors and friends presented the case (in a three hour workshop session) showing other states how to adopt measures similar to TABOR. TABOR Committee Chairman Penn Pfiffner also addressed approximately 60 legislators and staff at a special session on July 28th concerning the importance of TABOR-like efforts in their own states.
TABOR is a Colorado constitution protection (approved by the voters of Colorado in 1992) that restrains tax increases to not greater than the sum of population growth and the rate of inflation without a vote of the people. It is the gold standard for all 50 states regarding sound fiscal responsibility. It protects the citizen’s right to be heard on tax increases that otherwise would not be subject to voter approval. It was because of TABOR that Colorado voters had the opportunity to recently reject two very large tax increases in Colorado. Amendment 66, a $1 billion tax increase proposal in 2013, and Amendment 69, a $25 billion tax increase proposal in 2016, were both soundly defeated at the ballot box by more than 60% of Colorado voters. TABOR made those votes possible.
The American Legislative Exchange Council is a nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives who draft and share model state-level legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States. ALEC provides a forum for state legislators and private sector members to collaborate on model bills—draft legislation that members may customize and introduce for debate in their own state legislatures. The ALEC annual meeting included keynote presentations by former US Speaker Newt Gingrich, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Colorado Congressman Ken Buck, Kentucky Governor Matthew Bevin, and other national leaders.
Please visit www.thetaborfoundation.org to learn more about TABOR and how you can help protect Colorado voter’s right to be heard.