Jul 23

Blake: “Decline to sign” campaign is first of its kind

Colorado has never seen an advertising and public relations campaign like it: Trying to stop an initiative before it gets to the ballot.

votebuttonSMALLThe campaign urging citizens to “think before you ink” is being sponsored by advocacy groups financed by the oil and gas industry. It is aimed at a couple of pending proposals that would severely restrict drilling in Colorado.

Proposition 75 would grant local governments the power to regulate, even effectively ban, drilling for oil and gas. Prop 78 would require that new oil and gas wells be at least 2,500 feet from occupied structures — a restriction that the industry claims would ban new wells from 90 percent of the land in the state.

We’re not likely to find out whether the campaign has worked or not until petitions are turned in by the Aug. 8 deadline.

But the campaign is already being blamed in part for the failure of an unrelated anti-TABOR initiative which was withdrawn this week by its sponsors. It would have permitted the state government to keep revenues collected above the spending limits imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights for the next 10 years. Instead of returning the money to taxpayers, the state would spend it on public education, transportation and mental health.

Backers of Prop 117 were “unable to raise the large amount of money necessary to gather enough signatures to qualify” for the ballot, Lisa Weil of Great Education Colorado told the Denver Business Journal.

Maria Garcia Berry, a political consultant who had been helping Weil and others promote 117, told me its death was “collateral damage” inflicted by the oil and gas industry’s campaign urging citizens to look more closely at the anti-drilling initiatives now circulating.

But that’s not all, she said. The oil and gas industry has effectively driven up the cost of collecting signatures by “conflicting out” just about every major signature gathering company in Colorado — Black Diamond Outreach, Kennedy Enterprises, Taylor Petition Management, to name a few. They’ve been reserved by the drilling industry or being used to circulate other initiatives it likes, such as Prop 96, which would make it more difficult to pass a state constitutional amendment.

Someone at Pac/West Communications, an Oregon-based firm retained by the oil and gas industry, dreamed up the idea of running TV ads urging citizens to think twice before signing a petition. If successful, it would reduce general election expenses considerably but since the industry has spent so many millions on PR already, it might hardly notice.

“Professional signature gatherers are hired guns who get paid when you sign their petition,” begins the latest TV spot. “Every signature is money in their pocket, which explains the effort to ban oil and natural gas development here.” Continue reading

Jul 22

Tenth Circuit Denies Rehearing in Colorado Tabor Challenge

Tenth Circuit Denies Rehearing in Colorado Tabor Challenge

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on July 19 rejected a request to rehear a challenge to Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
 
The one-sentence order from the three-judge panel likely signals the end of the road for Colorado Rep. Andy Kerr (D) and the other state lawmakers who joined him in his bid to reverse a 1992 constitutional amendment that requires a popular vote to raise taxes.
Jul 20

Colorado Priorities shelves ballot initiative to curb Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Organizers have shelved a ballot initiative to loosen the grip of Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill or Rights on the state’s ability to fundschools, transportation, mental health and senior services.

The executive committee of the Colorado Priorities campaign suspended the effort Monday night. The measure would have needed the signatures of at last 98,492 registered voters by Aug. 8 to get on the November ballot.

TABOR sets a revenue cap based on population and inflation. Everything over that must be refunded to taxpayers under the constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1992. Initiative 117would have allowed the state to keep that revenue.

 

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story:

Jul 20

Ballot campaign to suspend Colorado’s TABOR revenue caps ends

ED SEALOVER | DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL

Dan Ritchie, one of the leaders of the Building a Better Colorado initiative

DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL – Concerned about ballot fatigue and suffering from a lack of fundraising, organizers of the Colorado Priorities campaign to pass a statewide de-Brucing ballot initiative blunting the impact of the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights ended their efforts for the 2016 election on Tuesday.

The proposal would have allowed the state government to keep any revenue it collected above the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights limit over the next 10 years and put it to prescribed uses — at least 35 percent toward education, at least 35 percent toward transportation and anything else toward mental-health and senior services.

Doing so would have eliminated the possibility of TABOR refunds that otherwise would go to statewide taxpayers when revenues exceed the caps.

However, organizers said they became increasingly worried about getting their message out during an election that could feature as many as 10 other ballot initiatives, as well as presidential and U.S. Senate races in this state.

Read more at the Denver Business Journal: http://bit.ly/29WUagr

Jul 20

TABOR timeout ballot measure won’t go to voters this year

TABOR timeout ballot measure won’t go to voters this year

A group trying to convince voters to hit the pause button on the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which limits government spending, has officially called it quits.

The effort would have been what Coloradans call a “de-Brucing,” named as such because the architect of TABOR is an anti-tax folk hero named Douglas Bruce. (Fun fact: He’s sitting in prison right now on charges that stem from a previous bust for tax evasion.)

Backed by a group called Colorado Priorities, the ballot measure would have asked voters in November if they wanted to grant the state government permission, for 10 years, to retain tax money that flowed over TABOR-mandated revenue caps. TABOR currently requires any revenue generated over projected limits to go back to individual taxpayers in the form of refunds.

If voters approved the measure, that money would instead have gone specifically toward transportation, education, mental health and senior services.

Colorado Priorities would have had to gather nearly 100,000 valid signatures in Colorado to get their proposal on the ballot. Petitioners were asking voters for their John Hancocks as recently as last week. The ballot measure grew out of an initiative called Building a Better Colorado, a bipartisan group of state leaders who held meetings around Colorado to determine what measures to try and put to voters this year. Continue reading

Jul 20

Ballot campaign to suspend Colorado’s TABOR revenue caps ends

Concerned about ballot fatigue and suffering from a lack of fundraising, organizers of the Colorado Priorities campaign to pass a statewide de-Brucing ballot initiative blunting the impact of the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights ended their efforts for the 2016 election on Tuesday.

The proposal would have allowed the state government to keep any revenue it collected above the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights limit over the next 10 years and put it to prescribed uses — at least 35 percent toward education, at least 35 percent toward transportation and anything else toward mental-health and senior services.

Doing so would have eliminated the possibility of TABOR refunds that otherwise would go to statewide taxpayers when revenues exceed the caps. Continue reading

Jul 20

Backers Pull Ballot Measure That Would Have Put TABOR On Pause

Backers Pull Ballot Measure That Would Have Put TABOR On Pause | CPR

Colorado Priorities, a group backing a ballot measure that would have eased a revenue cap on state government, announced Tuesday that it has suspended its campaign.

The measure would have temporarily suspended refunds to taxpayers, as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights — or TABOR — requires when revenue collection outpaces population growth and inflation. The group says that revenue is needed elsewhere, especially in the state’s school and transportation systems.

Colorado Priorities’ executives cited a crowded ballot in their decision to stop their campaign.

 

Continue reading

Jul 20

Colorado Court of Appeals rejects challenge under Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights

Colorado Court of Appeals rejects challenge under Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights – Lexology

In a case decided on June 30, 2016, the Colorado Court of Appeals considered whether the Regional Transportation District and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District violated the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (“TABOR”). The Court of Appeals’ decision reflects, courts are reluctant to invalidate legislation on TABOR grounds. The decision also makes it more difficult to challenge TABOR.

TABOR requires advance voter approval before a district may collect any new tax, increase a tax rate, or change a tax policy that causes a net tax revenue gain. Under Colorado law, the Regional Transportation District and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (the “Districts”), along with the state, are granted taxing power.

In 2009, the legislature removed the state sales tax exemption for cigarettes, but the exemption remained in place for the Districts. In other words, the state could collect sales tax on cigarettes starting in 2009, but the Districts could not. The legislature also removed exemptions for direct mail advertising materials, candy, soda, and food containers in 2010, but these exemptions remained in place for the Districts.

 

Continue reading

Jul 19

Lesley Smith and Laurie Albright: Sign a petition to de-fang TABOR

Yup, spend more.
That’s the blueprint for fixing everything.
According to them, more money will solve public education.
Obama’s $870 Billion dollar Stimulus failed because it was too little.
They wanted to spend more, more, more.
Then you looked at the results.
No improvement at all.
But we’re deeper in debt and they are none the wiser.
Thank God for TABOR!
The Colorado economy is booming now compared to during the recent recession, but because of a 26-year-old tax policy embedded in the Colorado Constitution (informally called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or “TABOR”), Colorado cannot invest all of its tax revenue to make up for cuts made during those harder economic times. Instead, the amendment says that all revenue collected above an out-of-date cap must be refunded to Colorado taxpayers. Each taxpayer received a refund of $13 to $41 this year, while our state continued to cut funds for basic infrastructure and services.

Continue reading

Jul 14

Madison County, Ill., to voters: Want to reduce your property taxes? | Illinois Policy | Illinois’ comeback story starts here

Madison County, Ill., to voters: Want to reduce your property taxes? | Illinois Policy | Illinois’ comeback story starts here

Madison Il want to reduce your taxes

Adopting a taxpayer bill of rights, or TABOR, such as the one found in Colorado’s Constitution, would be another protection for Illinois taxpayers. A TABOR creates a formula that determines how much in taxes a government can collect in a year, based on increases in population and inflation. Any unit of government wanting to raise taxes or create a new tax would be required to seek voter approval first via a ballot referendum.

The Madison County referendum is a small, but positive, step toward reducing the property tax burden on Madison County residents and will provide much-needed relief to the taxpayers’ pocketbooks. Politicians and local officials across the state need to take similar steps to reduce the tax burden on their own residents. And to make sure Illinoisans will have a say in their tax burden in the future, Illinois should adopt a TABOR to the state constitution.

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/madison-county-ill-to-voters-want-to-reduce-your-property-taxes/