After the midterm elections, Colorado voters woke up to an electoral map as blue as the sky. Democrats won almost all competitive races, including every state office. They now control both houses of the state legislature. But before we permanently paint Colorado blue, we should consider the outcomes of a few statewide ballot measures.
In fact, Colorado voters rejected most of the thirteen ballot measures at the state level. All the ballot measures proposing increased taxes and/or debt were defeated by a wide margin, including measures to fund schools and transportation. However, citizens approved a majority of the state’s local school bond issues and funding packages.
The results of these ballot measures continue a trend that began when the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Amendment (TABOR) was ratified in 1992. TABOR requires voter approval for any increase in taxes or debt, and has proven to be the most effective state tax and spending limit in the country. Since TABOR was adopted, very few state ballot measures calling for increased taxes or debt have been approved. However, at the local level the majority of these ballot measures have passed.
- By Bethany Blankley | Watchdog.org
- Dec 6, 201
Outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper asked the state Supreme Court to review the compatibility of two constitutional amendments governing the calculations of taxes to determine if one should be removed. The court rejected his request.
The 1982 Gallagher Amendment and the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), designed to protect taxpayers, Hickenlooper wrote, created an “irreconcilable conflict in Colorado’s Constitution.”
The Gallagher Amendment sets the percentage for taxing residential and commercial property owners according to a specific formula that allows the residential assessment rate (RAR) to fluctuate and maintain the ratio to prevent large, unexpected spikes in tax bills.
TABOR prevents local and state governments from increasing taxes without voter approval, including any changes to the Gallagher formula. Continue reading
The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday turned down a request from Gov. John Hickenlooper that sought to resolve what he believes are conflicts between the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) and the Gallagher Amendment.
The Court did not provide a reason in denying the request.
Hickenlooper submitted “interrogatories” — a series of questions — on Nov. 20 that asked the Court to look at the conflicts between TABOR, passed by voters in 1992, and Gallagher, adopted by voters in 1982. Critics say the conflict is siphoning off tax revenue for schools and local government services, such as firefighting.
Those conflicts are “preventing local governments from funding even limited essential services,” Hickenlooper’s filing with the court said. “… It has resulted in the steady erosion of the budgets of local governments in communities throughout the state that rely on property taxes.”
The erosion is about to get a lot worse.
Colorado cities want to tap into online sales revenue. That means the state’s messy sales tax system could get messier.
In South Dakota v. Wayfair, Supreme Court ruled online taxes can’t be “burdensome” for interstate sales, but Colorado’s complex system will put the ruling to the test
As state regulators scramble to expand online sales taxes in the wake of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Colorado’s largest cities could suddenly find themselves missing out on a new funding spigot worth millions of dollars each year.
But if they try to get their piece of a growing tax pie — Denver alone could reap more than $5 million each year — experts say they’re just as likely to find themselves in federal court.
The net result could be a hybrid system unlike any other in the country: one that would effectively require out-of-state businesses to collect some sales taxes but not others.
The U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned a de facto ban on interstate online sales taxes, ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair that a state can require online retailers to collect and remit sales taxes regardless of whether they have a physical presence there.
The catch: states aren’t allowed to put an excessive burden on interstate businesses. And where South Dakota’s system was designed to be simple and user-friendly, Colorado’s is notoriously complicated and cumbersome — so much so that tax experts across the country believe it’s the most likely test case for the lingering question from the Wayfair case: What exactly constitutes an excessive burden?
The question has complicated Colorado’s efforts to expand online sales taxes to out-of-state retailers. And it has left top policymakers, advocacy groups and business coalitions urging patience. Continue reading
PLF opposes illegal taxes in Colorado
The Colorado Secretary of State has been illegally charging businesses millions of dollars in unnecessary filing fees every year. Rather than refund those excess fees, the secretary funneled the money into his general budget, converting the fees into general tax revenue in violation of the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. The National Federation of Independent Business sued to stop the unconstitutional fees, and the case is now before the Colorado Supreme Court.
- First, PLF urged the Colorado Supreme Court to do away with the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for unconstitutional laws, because it neuters the court’s ability to strike down unconstitutional laws and allows many unconstitutional laws to remain on the books.
- Second, PLF argued that the amount of a fee cannot exceed the cost of providing the service or regulation funded by the charge. Here, 90% of the business “fees” fund services and regulations totally unrelated to businesses.
INTERVIEW: Jared Polis on energy, death penalty, TABOR and more
Author: Next with Kyle Clark, 9News – November 9, 2018 –
Colorado Gov.-elect Jared Polis is interviewed Nov. 7 on “Next with Kyle Clark.” (KUSA-9News, Denver)
Shortly after he was elected governor of Colorado, Jared Polis sat down with 9News anchor Kyle Clark to discuss his historic victory and his plans.
During a 10-minute conversation, which aired Nov. 7 on 9News’ “Next with Kyle Clark,” the Democrat weighed in on oil and gas regulation, the death penalty, TABOR and taxes, and on being America’s first openly gay candidate to be elected governor.
Here’s a transcript of Clark’s interview with Polis. And watch the full interview below.
Kyle Clark: Governor Elect Jared Polis, congratulations. Welcome back to “Next.”
Jared Polis: Thank you, Kyle. Pleasure to be here.
Clark: Colorado voters gave Democrats sweeping control of state government last night, yet they also rejected two statewide tax increases and rejected increased restrictions on oil and gas drilling. What’s your takeaway from all that together? Continue reading
Admin’s note: Vote NO on 73. It’s not “for the kids” as supporters of this TAX INCREASE say. This ballot question is a liberals spending dream and an end run around TABOR. Education already gets a funding increase every year since Amendment 23 passed in 2000. It’s too bad that student’s achievement results didn’t rise. More money does not equal better outcomes. TABOR will survive this misguided attempt.
Ballot initiative seeks to increase taxes by $1.6 billion; could end Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights
A controversial ballot initiative would raise taxes on Coloradans by $1.6 billion to increase funding for public schools if approved. Opponents argue it also would make the constitutionally protected Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) impotent.
Amendment 73, the Establish Income Tax Brackets and Raise Taxes for Education Initiative, seeks to amend the state constitution to replace Colorado’s flat rate income tax with a progressive income tax. Individuals earning more than $150,000 would be taxed more and the corporate income tax rate would increase. The revenue collected from the tax hikes would go into a newly created Quality Public Education Fund.
The state constitution requires a 55 percent supermajority vote for the initiative to become law.
“‘Take your success elsewhere’ should be the signs erected if Colorado approves Amendment 73,” Penn Pfiffner, former state legislator and chairman of the board of the TABOR Foundation, told Watchdog.org. “The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights properly treats everyone equally, requiring the same income tax rate be applied to everyone. Currently, if you make more money, you pay more, but only at the rate that everyone else pays. This proposal would change that, bringing an attitude that the upper middle class and wealthy should be attacked and made to pay increasing amounts. It is the worst concept in raising taxes.”
A group of opponents of the measure launched a “Blank Check. Blatant Deception. Vote No on 73,” campaign, arguing the ballot language is deceptive. It tried to have the question removed after the required deadline and Colorado’s secretary of state rejected its complaint. Continue reading
Beware the seven county-wide property tax hike, Question 7G
October 19, 2018
Almost 60% of Colorado’s population, roughly 2.8 million people, live within the seven county Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD). If you are a voter within this district, you will see question 7G on your ballot, the first question ever referred by the district since its creation in 1969. The ballot language asks voters to approve a $14.9 million property tax increase, and to exempt that new money from the revenue limits in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). They deceptively claim this really isn’t a tax increase, but rather just a full restoration of their taxing authority.
If you are like me and want your community protected from flooding, and also love spending time near your local pond or stream, then why would you want to vote against such a proposal?
The answer has to do with two things, common sense and government entitlement.
Any voter with common sense would want to find out how the money is to be spent and what kind of oversight mechanisms are in place. Unfortunately, the Flood District has never held an election that allows citizens to choose their board of directors. Instead, 20 of the 22 directors of the District are politicians appointed by local city councils or county commissioners. For example, the Mayor of Broomfield was appointed to the board by Broomfield City Council. These politicians then appoint two professional engineers to serve with the Board Continue reading