Jun 15

Update on lawsuit against RTD tax

TABOR Friends and Supporters,

Here is an update regarding the lawsuit the TABOR Foundation filed to stop the new taxes RTD imposed without voter approval.  The last we reported was that Judge Bruce Jones ruled against us, saying in essence that the legislature can change the taxes for RTD as long as an implausibly broad definition of existing taxes is met.

The legal firm representing us (for free!) is Mountain States Legal Foundation.  The attorney reviewed the Ruling and let us know that his organization would be willing to appeal on our behalf.  In March, your Board of Directors voted to authorize the TABOR Foundation to follow through with Mountain States as far as we can in order to win.  The attorney, Jeffrey McCoy, timely filed a Notice of Appeal.  That’s where the case rests now. Continue reading

Apr 26

As session wraps up, major work remains for Colorado lawmakers

Colorado lawmakers begin a mad dash to the finish next week with more than a dozen significant bills in limbo and the session’s clock set to expire.

The final flurry before the May 6 adjournment is typical each session, but this year it is complicated by a divided legislature seeking elusive common ground on a wide range of issues and a series of late bills with huge implications.

The new bills include a repeal of the sales tax on soft drinks, a new$3.5 billion transportation bonds package, two resolutions to cut the length of the legislative session, an opt-out for mail ballots, the renewal of a state consumer watchdog and a ballot measure on how to spend $58 million of marijuana taxes.

To read the rest of this article, click the following link:

 

http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_27985297/session-wraps-up-major-work-remains-colorado-lawmakers?source=JBarTicker

Jan 29

Monday is the Trial date for TABOR vs RTD/SCFD court case

TABOR Supporter,

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.

Bob Foland
Executive Director
TABOR Foundation

(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

POSTED:   10/24/2013

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

Jul 10

TABOR Committee & TABOR Foundation update

Friends of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights,

Your TABOR Committee has a lot of irons in the fire, so I thought to take inventory:

The lawsuit alleging TABOR unconstitutional is Kerr vs. Hickenlooper.  You might recall that a 3-judge appellate panel of the federal 10th Circuit found the trial could proceed.  In a direct and forceful response, the Attorney General’s Office asked for an appellate review by the entire Court (“en banc”).  From the opening salvo:

This case involves questions of exceptional importance: whether three state legislatorsmay enlist the federal judiciary to take sides in their dispute with the state’s constitution, its governor, and its people over the proper role of direct democracy. A case involving more fundamental issues about the proper role of the federal courts in a system of horizontally and vertically divided power is hard to imagine. If the panel decision stands, this Circuit will be alone in giving federal judges the power to decide that some laws are unconstitutional because they are too democratic.

The panel reached two holdings, each of which is unique among the circuits and conflicts with Supreme Court precedent….. Continue reading

Oct 25

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.

The TABOR Foundation — formed to protect and enforce the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, a state constitutional amendment that requires a vote of the people to increase taxes — says the legislature violated TABOR by enacting a new tax without voter approval.

“The legislature seems to have forgotten there is a part of the constitution called TABOR, and we are hoping to remind them that the Taxpayer Bill of Rights does exist,” said Jim Manley, of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, which filed the complaint on behalf of the foundation.

Manley said voters should get to decide whether RTD and SCFD can expand their tax base. “All we are asking is for the voters to weigh in on this.”

Supporters say the tax is not new, but merely an expansion of the till the districts are allowed to dip into. It also simplifies the tax-collection process and makes the accounting more accurate, RTD said.

“We see it as simply aligning the tax base of the special district with the state tax base,” SCFD executive director Peg Long said.

Read more: TABOR group sues 2 special districts — RTD, SCFD — over new tax – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_24379305/tabor-group-sues-2-special-districts-rtd-scfd#ixzz2imeezy4O 
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Oct 24

TABOR Foundation vs. RTD

Issue:
Whether the General Assembly can circumvent TABOR by expanding the taxing authority of RTD and SCFD without voter approval.

Plaintiff:
TABOR Foundation

Defendants:
Regional Transportation District, Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, and the Colorado Department of Revenue

Court:
Colorado District Court for Jefferson County, 2013CV31974

In the 2013 legislative session, the Colorado General Assembly enacted HB13-1272, which unlawfully authorizes the Regional Transportation District (“RTD”) and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (“SCFD”) to levy new sales and use taxes on food, beverages, cigarettes, advertising materials, and food containers. These new taxes will be levied by RTD and SCFD, beginning January 1, 2014.  Continue reading

Mar 23

Taxation Without Representation

F Line

F Line (Photo credit: paulswansen)

Introduced earlier this week was the following, Colorado House Bill HB 13-1272: RTD & SCFD Sales & Use Tax Base Same As State. This tax increase without voter approval likely got lost in all of the Colorado anti-gun legislation that had moved to the front of the news cycle.

The proposed legislation is set to add more tax revenue to the Regional Transportation District (RTD) here in Denver as well as the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). The bill is sponsored in the Colorado House by House Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst. In the Colorado Senate the sponsor is Pat Steadman of Colorado Senate District 31.

The description of the bill is as follows:

Currently, some items that are exempt from the state sales and use tax are subject to the scientific and cultural facilities’ (SCFD) and regional transportation district’s (RTD) sales and use tax, and vice versa. For example, RTD and SCFD may tax the sales of low emitting motor vehicles, but the state may not. The state may tax the sale of candy and soft drinks, but RTD and SCFD may not.

The bill changes RTD and SCFD’s sales and use tax bases to be the same as the state’s sales and use tax base by eliminating some of the districts’ exemptions and creating other new exemptions for them.

In Colorado, we have the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), so any tax increase in the state must be approved by voters before implementation. Approved in 1992 the constitutional amendment is designed to restrain growth in the Colorado State government. TABOR applies to all levels of government in Colorado including, state government, cities, counties, school districts and special districts. The legislation is the most restrictive tax and spending limitation in the country. Continue reading