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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Jul 17

Bed tax law suit gets new life

Bed tax law suit gets new life

DENVER — Ongoing litigation against the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing, among others, over a 2009 program that raised taxes via a “hospital provider fee,” has new energy after Cause of Action Institute announced earlier this month it would take on the representation of the plaintiffs in the case.

Cause of Action is a Washington D.C.-based 501(c)(3) organization that according to its website advocates for “economic freedom and individual opportunity advanced by honest, accountable, and limited government.”

Plaintiffs, who were originally represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation, had 60 days to find new counsel after Mountain States withdrew for reasons not related to the case or the plaintiffs.

Lee Steven and James Valvo are the lead attorneys. The Colorado-licensed attorney is Michael Francisco, who while working in the Colorado Attorney General’s office helped to write the defense of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) in Kerr vs. Hickenlooper, which claimed TABOR was a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of a republican form of government. That argument lost.

This case was initially filed in 2015. It asserts the state’s Hospital Provider Fee is actually a tax enacted in violation of the TABOR. Continue reading

Jul 16

Bed tax law suit gets new life

Ongoing litigation against the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing, among others, over a 2009 program that raised taxes via a “hospital provider fee,” has new energy after Cause of Action Institute announced earlier this month it would take on the representation of the plaintiffs in the case.

Cause of Action is a Washington D.C.-based 501(c)(3) organization that according to its website advocates for “economic freedom and individual opportunity advanced by honest, accountable, and limited government.”

Plaintiffs, who were originally represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation, had 60 days to find new counsel after Mountain States withdrew for reasons not related to the case or the plaintiffs. Continue reading

Jun 28

The big winner tonight is… TABOR!

The big winner tonight is… TABOR!  

mmJon Caldara  AUTHOR

As I’m watching the numbers roll in tonight from Colorado’s primary elections, I just had to tell you what the news might not pick up on, even if they noticed it. The big winner in tonight’s Republican Primary is our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

You might recall last year several weak-kneed Republicans in the state legislature worked with 100% of the Democrats to blow a massive hole in TABOR. Senate Bill 267 labeled a giant tax hike as a “fee” and a $2 billion debt package as “certificates of participation” as a way to avoid going to the voters as required by TABOR. The end result is that while Trump gave you an income tax cut, these Republicans took it all away, without even asking.

Tonight Republican voters made very clear – when you betray us, when you betray our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, you will NOT go any higher in political office.

Three of the anemic Republicans who voted for this grand betrayal had the gall to run for higher office. State Senator Owen Hill wanted to become a U.S. Congressman, State Representative Polly Lawrence wanted to become Colorado’s State Treasurer, and State Representative Dan Thurlow wanted to graduate to State Senator.

All three lost in their primaries tonight.

Republicans should take note. You mess with our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, you go no higher in elected office (at least as a Republican).

Join our TABOR Yes coalition right now and help politicians remember why we love TABOR!

Think Freedom,

Jon

The big winner tonight is… TABOR!

Jun 12

Your TABOR Foundation is suing the State of Colorado

The TABOR Foundation is suing the State of Colorado over the bed tax termed a “Hospital Provider” charge, which was imposed without voter approval in strict violation of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.  Our lawsuit had to be substantially amended when Senate Bill 17- 267 further flaunted the constitution by increasing the tax limit by $400+ million, defining the hospital welfare program as an off-the-books government business, issuing $2 billion in debt and much else – all without any regard to the requirements in TABOR.

In late March, we learned that our attorneys at Mountain States Legal Foundation had to withdraw.  From our outside observation point, some internal reorganization appears to have been the reason.  From everything that I have seen and heard, neither the TABOR Foundation nor the other three Plaintiffs contributed to the difficult situation.

In early April, Judge Buchanan gave us 60 days to find replacement counsel.

This email is a happy announcement that the TABOR Foundation met that deadline to recruit new attorneys and the hand-off is just about complete.  Yesterday, the TABOR Foundation appeared at a new Hearing as ordered by Judge Buchanan.  With us were the outgoing attorneys and participating by telephone were our new attorneys.  One of the other Plaintiffs, Scott Rankin, also attended.  The Court approved the substitution.  We have pulled together another very strong team so the outlook is positive.  Our new legal representation is by Cause of Action Institute, with Lee Steven and James Valvo stepping into the lead roles.  Our Colorado-licensed attorney is Michael Francisco, who while working in the Colorado Attorney General’s office helped to write the defense of TABOR in Kerr vs. Hickenlooper.

Now that the legal activity may move forward, look for more communications about developments no later than the fall…..

Penn R. Pfiffner
Chairman

Apr 13

Join the TABOR offensive!

Join the TABOR offensive!

Join the TABOR offensive!

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is universally despised, neigh, deplored by every tax-happy progressive around the country. Ever wonder why it’s like sunlight to a vampire to them, and why they’ve weakened it in court-ruling after court-ruling for 25 years? Then please join us on Monday, April 23, in Colorado Springs for our first stop on the TABOR Road Show 2018.

There’s a growing coalition of national, state, and local TABOR supporters that won’t tolerate any more attacks on or weakening of the greatest gift Colorado voters ever gave themselves or future generations – the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and the right to vote on increases in taxes and debt. We are crisscrossing the state to let people know about the TABOR Yes coalition, some two dozen strong and growing, and why Coloradans should fall in love with TABOR again.

For additional information on TABOR and our coalition, visit our Web site TABORYes.com.

Please RSVP here!

Monday, April 23rd
5:30-7 PM

Barrel Room at IvyWild School
1604 S. Cascade Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

Local HostSpringsTaxpayers.com
Emcee: Jeff Crank, The Jeff Crank Show
Moderator: Amy Oliver Cooke, Independence Institute

Panelists:
Michael Fields, Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Jon Caldara, Independence Institute
Hadley Heath Manning, Independent Women’s Forum (invited)

Supported by the
TABOR YES COALITION

Americans for Prosperity- Colorado
Americans for Tax Reform
America’s House of Commons
Americhicks
Approval Voting
Arapahoe Tea Party
CATO Institute
Centennial Institute
Center for Freedom Prosperity
Coalition to Reduce Spending
Colorado Issues Coalition
Colorado Log Cabin Republicans
Colorado Union of Taxpayers
Independence Institute
Independent Women’s Forum
Mountain States Legal Foundation
National Asian Indian Republican Association
Reagan Republicans
Republican Liberty Caucus Colorado
SpringsTaxpayers.com
Taxpayers Chamber of Commerce
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
The Hudson Firm
The Steamboat Institute
Wake Up with Randy Corporon (710 KNUS)
Kelsey M. Alexander
Barbara Piper
Dennis Polhill
Geri Zahner

Join the TABOR offensive!

Apr 13

The Home Front: TABOR lawsuit could ‘delay a critical piece of funding for the widening of Interstate 25’

The Home Front: TABOR lawsuit could ‘delay a critical piece of funding for the widening of Interstate 25’

“A years-old lawsuit could delay a critical piece of funding for the widening of Interstate 25 between Monument and Castle Rock, possibly pushing back the start of construction,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The hangup stems from a 2015 lawsuit filed by the TABOR Foundation against the state over the constitutionality of Colorado’s hospital provider fee. Last December, the foundation argued that a new state law – one that’s expected to generate nearly $2 billion for the I-25 widening and other transportation projects around the state – is also unconstitutional, according to an amended complaint filed in Denver District Court.”

 

The Home Front: TABOR lawsuit could ‘delay a critical piece of funding for the widening of Interstate 25’

Apr 12

El Paso County officials fear TABOR lawsuit could delay start of I-25 widening

El Paso County officials fear TABOR lawsuit could delay start of I-25 widening

Author: Rachel Riley, The Gazette – April 12, 2018 – Updated: 8 hours ago

tollsSouthbound traffic begins to build on Interstate 25 Thursday afternoon, Oct. 12, 2017, just before exit 172 near Larkspur, Colo. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette)

A years-old lawsuit could delay a critical piece of funding for the widening of Interstate 25 between Monument and Castle Rock, possibly pushing back the start of construction.

The hang-up stems from a 2015 lawsuit filed by the TABOR Foundation against the state over the constitutionality of Colorado’s hospital provider fee.

Last December, the foundation argued that a new state law – one that’s expected to generate nearly $2 billion for the I-25 widening and other transportation projects around the state – is also unconstitutional, according to an amended complaint filed in Denver District Court.

Colorado’s Transportation Commission has tentatively allocated about $250 million of that money to the widening of the roughly 18-mile stretch from Monument to Castle Rock known as the “Gap.”

 

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