Aug 17

Letter: ‘The rest simply pay for it’

My wife and I have lived in Pueblo West for nearly seven years.

We bought property and built a new home here because of the rural feel, the privacy, the huge vistas and to escape the many downfalls of the city of Pueblo.

Not the least of which was the ceaseless badgering by city council and other government entities for more money for pet projects.

Ballot tax initiatives were repeated ad nauseum due to a refusal to take no for an answer. We grew weary of the arrogance associated with that mindset and having to repeatedly fend off the never ending assaults on our wallets.

Recently, we have witnessed an increase in efforts of this ilk here in Pueblo West. Continue reading

Aug 06

Hate Big Government? Crush New Smoking Taxes

Hate Big Government? Crush New Smoking Taxes.

POSTED BY ON JUL 12, 2016 IN BLOG

Hate Big Government? Crush New Smoking Taxes.

 Aren’t you glad we live in a state where, due to TABOR, politicians have to ask us before soaking hardworking taxpayers? I like to call it “consensual taxation.”

In 2013, Coloradans overwhelmingly defeated Amendment 66, which would have been a $1 billion annual tax increase. The politicians wanted this tax increase, but the voters said no by a margin of 66-34. Thanks to TABOR, they had to ask us. We said politely declined.

This November, we will have the opportunity to vote on Amendment 69, which would create a single-payer health plan in Colorado at the cost of a new 10% payroll tax. It’s been widely panned, even by the Democrats, including US Senator Michael Bennet.

 

Continue reading

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