Adams County Judge Mark Warner today ruled in favor of the county in a lawsuit filed by county residents who opposed the stormwater utility fee that was approved by the Board of County Commissioners in 2012.
“Throughout this process the county has maintained the belief that the stormwater utility is a fee, not a tax and is necessary to provide storm water related services and facilities,” said Commissioner Chaz Tedesco.
In his ruling (attached), Judge Warner validated that belief:
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment and DENIES plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment. The utility is a government-owned business that receives less than ten percent of its funds from state and local authorities combined, and is therefore an “enterprise” that is exempted from TABOR. Further, defendant has not engaged in an unconstitutional “bait and switch” by imposing the fee and using it, in part, for administrative and personnel costs. Further, the Court concludes the stormwater utility fee is reasonably related to the overall cost of providing services related water drainage and water related activities in the service area. Thus, based upon the foregoing interpretation of Colorado law, the stormwater utility charge is a fee, not a tax and not subject to TABOR. The Court concludes the plaintiffs have not proved that the County’s legislative decision is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt.
The TABOR Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the Regional Transportation District and the Science and Cultural Facilities District for their violations of TABOR. The first court appearance will be on Monday, February 2 at 2:30 in courtroom 424 in the City and County Building (1437 Bannock St, Denver, 80202). It would be a great show of support to have friends of TABOR present for at least part of the proceedings. If anyone is able to attend, it would be good to know that ahead of the hearing on Monday.
(To refresh your memory, this is what the lawsuit is about)
TABOR group sues 2 special districts — RTD, SCFD — over new tax
By Monte Whaley
The Denver Post
The nonprofit TABOR Foundation is suing to stop the Regional Transportation District and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District from collecting sales tax on food, beverages, cigarettes, advertising materials and food containers.
The foundation filed a request for preliminary injunction Thursday in Jefferson County District Court, asking that the districts be blocked from collecting the tax starting Jan. 1, as allowed by a new state law.
House Bill 1272 lifted exemptions on items the districts could tax. Previously, sales of food, beverages, cigarettes, advertising materials and food containers were off limits to RTD and SCFD.
The tax is expected to net $2.7 million for RTD and $270,000 for SCFD next year, according to the complaint. Continue reading
This is disingenuous at best, but I would call it an outright lie. Marijuana taxes are less than the expected TABOR refunds. All the money goes into the general fund, where one dollar is indistinguishable from the next. It is more honest to say that thanks to marijuana taxes and an improving economy, the government coffers are overflowing and they will return money to the taxpayers. Not according to Pat Steadman. Read on:
“SHOULD 1st YEAR TAXES FROM PROP AA BE RETAINED?
If you’ve been keeping score, voters have twice voted to tax and regulate marijuana in Colorado. In 2012 we passed Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana and instructed the legislature to create laws for taxation and regulation. In 2013 the legislature referred Proposition AA to the ballot, proposing a tax scheme that voters overwhelmingly adopted.
But it doesn’t stop there – I’m working on a bill for 2015 that would ask voters to allow the tax revenues generated by Prop AA during its first full-year of implementation to be retained and spent. Yes, thanks to a peculiar provision of the TABOR Amendment, you’ll have to vote a third time to make the pot taxes work as intended. Continue reading
Dear Friends of TABOR:
Attached is the final draft of the brief we filed today, along with the exhibits we attached to the brief in RTD/SCFD Case filing 11.21
Reply in Support of MSJ.final.final
Exhibit L by North Suburban Republican Forum
Three years ago, a group of primarily government plaintiffs sued in federal district court to void Colorado’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR). TABOR allows the people, not just the legislature, to vote on most tax increases, most debt increases, and some spending hikes.
Adams County District Court Judge Ted C. Tow ruled last Friday (29 August 2014) that a lawsuit challenging tax incentives offered by the city of Aurora to developers of the Gaylord hotel project can go forward. Plaintiffs had challenged Aurora’s tax incentives – including creation of an “enhanced taxing area” and a special election to raise taxes to finance the project – violated Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR.
As reported in a recent Colorado Springs Gazette article,
The Aurora City Council ?authorized the enhanced taxing area and the election to raise taxes at a meeting in June 2011. Only one person voted in the election as the land included in the taxing area is owned by a single corporate entity.
Rather takes the “one man, one vote” principle to a whole new level, eh?
Clear The Bench Colorado will, with your support, continue to promote transparency and accountability in the Colorado judiciary, informing the public to increase awareness of the substantial public policy implications of an unrestrained activism and political agendas in the courts. We will continue to work to educate voters and provide information of relevance related to the judicial branch, and to provide useful and substantive evaluations of judicial performance.
However, we can’t do it alone – we need your continued support; via your comments (Sound Off!) and, yes, your contributions. Freedom isn’t free –nor is it always easy to be a Citizen, not a subject.
Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.
TABOR-required refunds would be $125M in ’16-17 and $392M in ’17-18, Colorado legislative economists project. Need for refunds would require legislature to set aside $$ in prior years, likely affecting such things as cuts in K12…