Mar 08

Colorado hospital fees do not violate TABOR, Denver District Court rules (updated)

Colorado hospital fees do not violate TABOR, Denver District Court rules

The fees have generated more than $4.6 billion over the past decade, according to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED: 

Hospital fees that have generated billions of dollars in Colorado are legal and do not violate Colorado’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights, according to a Denver District Court ruling.

The Wednesday ruling found that the Hospital Provider Fee and the subsequent Healthcare Affordability and Sustainability Fee are “fees, and not taxes, and therefore are not subject to TABOR,” according to a Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) news release.

The ruling is in favor of the health care policy department and the Colorado Department of the Treasury.

In 2015, the TABOR Foundation filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the fees. The hospital provider fee is a charge imposed on hospital stays that other states refer to as a “bed tax.”

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Mar 07

Colorado hospital fees do not violate TABOR, Denver District Court rules

Colorado hospital fees do not violate TABOR, Denver District Court rules

The fees have generated more than $4.6 billion over the past decade, according to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

PUBLISHED: 

Hospital fees that have generated billions of dollars in Colorado are legal and do not violate Colorado’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights, according to a Denver District Court ruling.

Colorado hospital fees do not violate TABOR, Denver District Court rules

Feb 26

Why TABOR Matters on February 26

Why #TABOR matters:

The TABOR Foundation’s legal counsel has been instrumental in the challenge of the arbitrary mandate on hospitals requiring payment of an annual “fee” for the privilege of providing service to the residents of Colorado. The Hospital Provider lawsuit is ongoing and asks the courts to determine a critical question: What is a tax, and what is a fee?

Dec 28

It’s Not Too Late….

The World Happiness Report provides data and research used around the world to help shape and inform policy.

Among its findings: giving to others is good for you.  It makes you feel happy.1-8

 Since 1992, the TABOR Foundation protects the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.  We educate citizens on why it matters to have a vote on increased taxes and how a formula for predictable growth creates a sound economy.

We are all volunteers.

We give advice and direction to citizens working at their local level to stop TABOR violations. We assist as plaintiffs and “friends of the courts in lawsuits to stop such violations.

The biggest trick of politicians is calling a new tax a “fee” – whether it’s for plastic grocery bags, living in a special district, running a hospital, driving over a bridge, or funding a mandatory family leave program with an insurance “fee.” We’ve responded to inquiries not just in Colorado, but in states like South Dakota, Kansas, Arizona, Alaska and Florida.

Please donate:

  • Help fund our Speaker’s Bureau to educate fellow taxpayers about their rights.
  • Help produce the TABOR 101 series of policy/how-to videos.
  • Help fund the legal fees for amicus briefs.

Please donate.   You – and we – will be happy you did.

Thanks – and Happy New Year!

Your friends at the TABOR Foundation

https://www.facebook.com/coloradoTABOR/

www.theTaborFoundation.org

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Sep 10

Hospital Provider lawsuit Sept 2018 development

The TABOR Foundation may have seen the final task for one of our lawsuits completed last Thursday, at least at the District Court level.  Our supporters will undoubtedly remember that we are suing the State government about how it implemented a new $600 million/year bed tax without first obtaining voter approval, as required by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.  The money is funding the Hospital Provider program.  The Foundation had to enhance the scope of the lawsuit after SB17-267 passed.  That egregiously bad legislation moved the Hospital Provider program off the books, as well as cobbling together transportation plans, changing Medicaid reimbursement, sale & leaseback of state buildings, a net $400 million increase in the fiscal spending cap, increasing State debt by $2 Billion  and more (so much for the single-subject mandate).

 

What happened last week, and where does the lawsuit stand?

 

All written arguments and counter-arguments have been submitted (“the case is fully briefed”) for the Summary Judgment phase.  The Judge still owes a ruling on the Motion to Dismiss made by the State’s attorneys.

 

Although not a standard action in Colorado, we had a formal Hearing last week for both sides to present their arguments for the Summary Judgment.  Each side was given roughly an hour to present its arguments, and there were questions from Judge Buchanan.  Lee Steven, the lead attorney from Cause of Action Institute, was the legal representative from our side there.  The Foundation’s Chairman, Penn Pfiffner, was present to represent the Plaintiffs.

 

Because it is not common to have oral argument for Summary Judgment, no clear Order was issued well in advance and as of just 10 days (+/-) before at least one of the attorneys for the Hospital Association was not sure that the Hearing had indeed been scheduled.  That’s why formal notice came up so soon before the scheduled court date.

 

The important development is that both Plaintiffs and Defendants agreed that the ruling will be on the constitutionality and on interpretation of facts already in evidence.  Therefore, it is more likely than not that the Judge will reverse (“vacate”) his Order for a five-day trial which is now scheduled to start on October 29.  He promised to make this case a high priority.  Given the circumstances, Judge Buchanan likely will release his ruling on the Motion to Dismiss and issue a final ruling on the case without any further action on the part of either Plaintiffs or Defendants.  We can be reasonably certain that the losing side will appeal.

 

At this point, all of us – Defendants, Plaintiffs, attorneys – are set for a waiting game until we learn what Court wants to do about the scheduled trial, and then for the rulings.

Penn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 06

Legal battles continue over Taxpayer Bill of Rights, hospital fees, transportation taxes

egal battles continue over Taxpayer Bill of Rights, hospital fees, transportation taxes

FILE - Colorado State Capitol
The Colorado State Capitol in Denver, Colorado.

On Nov. 3, 1992, Colorado voters approved a constitutional amendment which stipulates that lawmakers seeking to raise taxes or issue debt must first ask voters for permission.

Called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, it took effect Dec. 31, 1992, and was designed to serve as another check against the growth of government. It requires that any increase in overall revenue from taxes not exceed the rates of inflation and population growth.

The TABOR Foundation, which was instrumental in advancing the amendment, maintains that it has been a successful measure.

Others maintain it interferes with advancing critical public spending initiatives. Sam Mamet, the executive director of the Colorado Municipal League, opposes TABOR. Mamet argued on the 25th anniversary of TABOR that “iIt is one of the most seriously damaging things the voters of the state have done to themselves in the last 25 years, in my humble opinion.”

Since its inception 26 years ago, many attempts have been made to amend, circumvent and litigate TABOR; the foundation counts at least 80 cases between 1993 and 2017.

Pfiffner said a perfect example of this is the 2015 lawsuit it filed, TABOR Foundation, et al. v. Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing, et al. regarding Colorado’s “hospital provider fee,” which it argues is an unconstitutional tax.

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Jul 31

Colorado expected to see $1 billion in new revenue in 2019; will taxpayers get a rebate?

FILE - Colorado State Capitol
The Colorado State Capitol in Denver, Colorado.

The Economic and Revenue Forecast presented to the Joint Budget Committee in June showed that the state’s general fund is projected to close out fiscal 2018 with a $1.2 billion surplus.

Since Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) places a cap on annual state tax revenue the state can keep, spend or save, many wonder whether Coloradans will actually see tax refunds in 2020.

 

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