Jan 24

Opinion: Politicians’ challenge to Colorado’s TABOR is without merit

For almost three decades, TABOR has been a godsend for Colorado taxpayers.

2:55 AM MST on Jan 24, 2021

Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is under attack once again, this time by the very politicians whose actions TABOR is intended to check.

A lawsuit filed by state legislators and some local elected officials has been wending its way through the federal courts since 2011. They seek to overturn the voter-enacted TABOR amendment to the Colorado constitution, which requires voter approval before state and local legislative bodies can impose or raise taxes.

The lawmakers’ case rests on the dubious idea that by denying legislators a free hand on matters of taxing and spending, TABOR denies Coloradans a republican form of government, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

It’s a specious, self-serving argument that ignores more than a century of case law and practical political experience with voter initiatives and referendums, in Colorado and elsewhere.

The case will now be heard by the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, although it seems likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually get the final word.

It’s a complicated case involving questions of standing — who has the right to bring a case to court — and whether constitutional guarantees of a republican form of government include the actions of political subdivisions such as school boards.

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Jan 23

Coalition Voices Opposition to Gas “Fee”

“The message politicians are sending to every Coloradan who voted to support TABOR, strengthen taxpayer protections, and oppose tax increases is they don’t care what you say, no matter how often you say it.” – Jesse Mallory AFP-CO State Director

Coalition Voices Opposition to Gas “Fee”

JAN 22, 2021 BY AFPAmericans for Prosperity-Colorado, Colorado Rising State Action, The Independence Institute, The Centennial Institute, and the Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT) all oppose the proposed plan.

DENVER, Colo. – Within months of voters passing increased taxpayer protections with Proposition 117, legislators are signaling they plan to ignore the will of the voters with a proposal to add “fees” on gasoline purchases. A coalition including Americans for Prosperity-Colorado, Colorado Rising State Action, The Independence Institute, The Centennial Institute, and the Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT) came out strongly against this proposal and called on legislators to respect the will of the voters.

Jesse Mallory, State Director, Americans for Prosperity-Colorado:

“The message politicians are sending to every Coloradan who voted to support TABOR, strengthen taxpayer protections, and oppose tax increases is they don’t care what you say, no matter how often you say it. Lawmakers must respect the will of the people and bring these proposals to a vote.”

Michael Fields, Executive Director of Colorado Rising State Action:

“Voters have made it crystal clear that they want to vote on tax and fee increases. Any plan to add significant revenue should include asking voters.”

Jeff Hunt, Director of the Centennial Institute:

“Colorado has some of the worst roads and traffic congestion in the country. Improving our roads is a priority that must be addressed. But forcing hardworking Coloradans to pay for this with additional gas fees in the midst of a pandemic and a struggling economy is the wrong way to go. The Colorado legislature is asking the average Coloradans to pay more just to go to work, go to the grocery store, or pick up their kids from school. The Colorado legislature has the money to spend on improving roads and needs to reprioritize roads over liberal special projects.”

Jon Caldara, President of the Independence Institute:

“Raising the gas tax without a vote of the people by calling it a fee will definitely give Coloradans gas. If it’s a good idea, bring it to the people!”

You can see this story along with others like it by clicking (HERE):
Dec 30

Caldara: Putting your money where your causes are

 

Americans give more of their hard-earned money to charitable causes than any people on the globe.

According to the Giving Institute, Americans give more than $1 billion a day to charities: a total of $410 billion in 2017.

And very little comes from the ultra-wealthy, big foundations, or large companies looking for good press. According to the Philanthropy Roundtable, in 2014 only 14% came from foundation grants, and just 5% from corporations. The rest, 81%, came from individuals like you.

Per capita, we voluntarily donate about seven times as much as continental Europeans. In Europe people see little reason to give more of their own money when so much is being forcibly taken by taxes and redistributed by the state for “what charity used to do.”

To continue reading this story with Jon mentioning The TABOR Foundation, please click (HERE):

Dec 22

Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District accused of improper mill levy increase

District president says they need the extra revenue to provide same level of service

HILLROSE, CO – JUNE 25: Water from the South Platte River flows into the Prewitt inlet ditch and will end up in Prewitt Reservoir on June 25, 2019 near Hillrose, Colorado. Neiman, who has worked for Prewitt Reservoir for 46 years, oversees and manages the water that is diverted off of the South Platte River that goes into the Prewitt inlet ditch and ends up in Prewitt Reservoir. The reservoir helps supply sufficient water for the irrigation of sugar beets. The reservoir is also used recreationally for swimming, fishing, hunting and other water recreation. When the reservoir is full it has a surface area of 2,340 acres. Prewitt Reservoir was financed and built by the Great Western Sugar Company and began construction in 1910 and was completed in 1912. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED: 

In December of 2019 the county commissioners in Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick and Washington counties certified the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District at 1.000 mills, double the amount allocated them on a yearly basis since early in the district’s formation.

Since then a group of property owners have been seeking recourse for the decision, claiming that the increase in mill levy was a violation of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which necessitates voter approval of both tax increases and the retention of excess funds if revenues grow faster than the rate of inflation and population growth. On May 19 William Banta, an attorney and legal council for the TABOR committee, sent a letter to the district.

“It has come to our attention that, in spite of TABOR, the Board of Directors of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District increased the District’s mill levy for 2020 without having voter approval,” the letter said. “Although we understood that the district received permission from the voters in 1996 to keep and use excess revenues there was no approval to increase a mill levy.”

The 1996 ballot measure is central to the district’s legal argument. The voters approved the ballot measure giving the district the right to retain and spend an additional $13,025 and access “the full proceeds and revenues received from every source whatever, without limitation, in 1996 and all subsequent years.”

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Dec 18

Survey: Colorado businesses want lawmakers to avoid tax increases during upcoming legislative session

  • By Robert Davis
  • Dec 17, 2020

The skyline is backlighted as the sun sets late Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Denver.

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

(The Center Square) – Colorado businesses are opposed to lawmakers increasing taxes during the upcoming legislative session, according to a new survey on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the state’s businesses.

The survey, conducted by the Colorado Chamber of Commerce, found 87% of respondents want lawmakers to avoid “increases in taxes on businesses.”

Of the survey’s respondents, 80% of businesses said they want lawmakers to implement COVID-19 liability protections, and 56% want exceptions in public health orders to allow businesses to stay open if they meet or exceed guidelines.

“The economic fallout from COVID-19 can be felt among businesses of all sizes throughout the state,” Chuck Berry, president of the Colorado Chamber, said in a statement.

To continue reading this story, please click (HERE):

Dec 18

Title Board rejects petitions proposal, finding an attempt to change constitution via statute

Title Board March 4
From left to right: Title Board members David Powell, Theresa Conley and Julie Pelegrin at the March 4, 2020 meeting.

The Title Board rejected on Wednesday a proposed ballot initiative to drastically revamp the direct democracy process in Colorado, concluding the proposal was an attempt to repeal sections of the state constitution without actually being a constitutional amendment.

“You simply cannot amend the Colorado constitution by enacting a statute,” said Jason Gelender, a board member representing the Office of Legislative Legal Services. “It would be like if the General Assembly tried to do what the measure seems to try to do, saying ‘we’re going to repeal TABOR,’” referring to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Initiative #6, from designated representatives Donald L. “Chip” Craeger III of Denver and John Ebel of Lone Tree, mirrored three other proposals the Title Board considered within the past year. Nicknamed the “Petition Rights Amendment,” the measure would expand the right of ballot initiative to most units of government, change the process by which initiative titles are set and appealed, and alter the number of signatures required to place an initiative on the statewide ballot.

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Nov 18

How Colorado Voters Cut Taxes During a Statewide Blue Wave

An election official notes the weight of a ballot box as a means to estimate the number of ballots locked inside before they are processed and counted for the presidential election in Denver, Colo., October 22, 2020. (Kevin Mohatt/Reuters)

And how, at the same time, progressives duped them into massive tax increases elsewhere.

In an election year where the political Left won nearly every ballot question and contested political race in the state, Colorado voters approved two conservative-backed ballot measures demanding fiscal restraint.

Proposition 116 reduces the state’s flat income-tax rate from 4.63 percent to 4.55 percent, and Proposition 117 requires the legislature to receive voter approval of large new government fees.

Most outcomes from Colorado’s 2020 ballot come as no surprise in a state now largely dominated by the Left. Democrats flipped a seat in the state senate while losing nothing. The Republican-to-Democrat ratio in the House remained unchanged. Voters rejected a ban on abortion after 22 weeks of gestation. The state agreed to join the National Popular Vote compact. Environmental activist groups won on Proposition 114, a measure to introduce gray wolves to the Colorado Rockies. The tax and fiscal issues, however, have left many Colorado policymakers and pundits baffled.

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Nov 18

Election 2020 proves that every state needs to do what Colorado has been doing since 1992

Some states that have a strong reputation for low tax burdens, such as Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona are noticeably weak when it comes to taxpayer protections

In addition to voting for elected officials at the federal, state and local level, taxation was on the ballot on Election Day all across the country.

Close to 2,400 measures that have tax or fiscal ramifications were on American ballots in the form of property tax measures, bond propositions and more.

Close to $25 billion in annual tax hikes were voted on, a significant amount that would hit taxpayers’ wallets in dozens of states.

Not only that, but more than $50 billion in bond measures were on the ballot, which can result in higher debt obligations for governments that could affect taxpayers for decades.

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Oct 21

Learn the difference between a tax and fee and why you should vote YES on Proposition 117

Do you know the difference between a tax and a fee?

Click the following link to watch TABOR Committee Chairman Penn Pfiffner explain it to Brandon Wark of Free State Colorado.

He also goes in depth to show why Colorado voters should vote YES on Proposition 117.

Oct 01

Prop 117 ad exposes how politicians raise your taxes by calling it a ‘fee’

As the grassroots organization Vote on Fees points out, with liberal majorities in the legislature the Taxpayer Bill of Rights is the only thing preventing Democrats from going completely out of control at the state capitol.

Colorado’s state legislature uses the word “FEE” to grow state programs and spending without having to ask Coloradans for the permission to raise taxes required under our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Massive revenue increases like FASTER (car registration) fees, are taxes coming out of our pockets to pay for state programs, and should go through the same voter approval process as all tax increases. It’s not complicated — just ask the people.

Two-thirds of state revenue now falls outside of TABOR. We need to do a better job of managing our state’s more than $30 billion budget. The status quo of continuing to grow and create new state programs and finance them off of “fees” needs to end.

Democrats have recently been using fee increases as an end-run around the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, a state Constitutional amendment that gives voters the final say on all statewide tax increases. The recent use of “fees” to short-circuit our Constitutional rights is extremely troubling, and fiscally responsible voters need to put a stop to it immediately.

Prop 117 is a major threat to Democrats and their socialist vision for Colorado.

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