Jan 11

With first Senate bill, Cadman takes aim at TABOR rebates

By

The first batch of state Senate bills popped into the online queue Wednesday, hours after session ended. But one was missing at first: Senate Bill 1, reserved for President Bill Cadman.

Now it’s online, and it’s a big one. The measure would change how the state awards refunds under the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights — essentially shifting who gets the most money back when the state exceeds its TABOR revenue cap.

It’s a complicated topic, but the analysts at the Colorado Fiscal Institute broke it down. (Spoiler alert: The left-leaning policy organization actually likes the bill.)

To read the rest of this article, click the following link:
http://blogs.denverpost.com/thespot/2015/01/08/cadman-tabor-rebates/116112/#more-116112

Jan 11

TABOR may put roadblock in front of I-70 fix

Editorials

By The Denver Post Editorial Board

Posted:   01/10/2015

A simulation of what the cap would like like over Interstate 70 through the Swansea neighborhood. (Photo courtesy of the Colorado Department of

A simulation of what the cap would like like over Interstate 70 through the Swansea neighborhood. (Photo courtesy of the Colorado Department of Transportation)

Thanks to constraints of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, the funding for the reconstruction of Interstate 70 through north Denver has fallen apart, outgoing state transportation director Don Hunt told us the other day.

The state is expected to give back at least $137 million to Coloradans for fiscal year 2015-16 in the form of a TABOR rebate, and for complicated reasons that rebate will seriously impact transportation and capital construction funds.

It is further evidence that even in these heady economic times, TABOR is proving to have destructive impacts on basic government services.

To read the rest of this article, click the following link:
http://www.denverpost.com/editorials/ci_27289664/tabor-may-put-roadblock-front-i-70-fix

 

Jan 10

It’s Not Our Money to Spend – You Earned It – You Spend It

clarice
It’s Not Our Money to Spend – You Earned It – You Spend It

The 2015 Colorado State Legislative Session brings a number of big issues to the forefront for the Legislature and the people of Colorado: energy development, the marijuana industry, gun restrictions; the list can go on and on with topics that will change the lives of many Coloradans. One topic that has just as much prominence, and has made a big wave among concerned legislators is the tax refund issue and TABOR.  If you read nothing further, please take this advice…HOLD ON TO YOUR WALLETS COLORADO TAX PAYERS.

The exact repayment figures and who would qualify remains unclear, but analysts estimate $137 million in TABOR refunds for the 2015 fiscal year.

Many Democrats in the State Legislature aren’t realizing that there are some positives to TABOR.  I’m already hearing some on the other side of the aisle offering the tired rhetoric that TABOR makes it harder to restore budget cuts, but in reality, TABOR is a system that provides some benefits.  TABOR prevents government overspending, and frankly, I am appalled that there is even the consideration of not returning this money to the people of Colorado.  This is money that they are legally entitled to.

An economic viewpoint is, yes, the TABOR refunds will be taking surplus money from the government and giving it back to the people of Colorado. That does not mean that this money will not be put to use to benefit the state as it would if it was left in the hands of politicians. Most people will use this money to pay their bills, some will save it, and some will impulsively spend it. The increase of investing, saving, and consuming will expand the private sector and benefit Colorado’s economic growth. TABOR keeps the growth of the government in line with the growth of the private sector thus creating more economic stability, which in turn benefits everyone.

The people of Colorado enacted TABOR in 1992; therefore by law, it is money that belongs to the people of Colorado. There is always something that the government can spend excess money on, no matter the amount of money the state has control of.  Politicians will always find something to allocate it towards. The plain and simple fact of it is, the excess money is not the state’s money in the first place, and that money belongs to the tax payers of Colorado. It is our duty as fiscally responsible representatives of the people of the state of Colorado to honor the TABOR refund and honor the people of Colorado. The people who earned it know best how to spend it.
#majoritiesmatter
Sincerely,

Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff
State Representative

Jan 09

With first Senate bill, Cadman takes aim at TABOR rebates

By

A bill about TABOR refunds.

The first batch of state Senate bills popped into the online queue Wednesday, hours after session ended. But one was missing at first: Senate Bill 1, reserved for President Bill Cadman.

Now it’s online, and it’s a big one. The measure would change how the state awards refunds under the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights — essentially shifting who gets the most money back when the state exceeds its TABOR revenue cap.

It’s a complicated topic, but the analysts at the Colorado Fiscal Institute broke it down. (Spoiler alert: The left-leaning policy organization actually likes the bill.)

To read the rest of this article, click the following link:
http://blogs.denverpost.com/thespot/2015/01/08/cadman-tabor-rebates/116112/

 

Jan 09

Lawmakers open 2015 session agreeing on education funding, but not on TABOR

Listen

Audio: CPR’s Megan Verlee reports on the Legislature’s start

Economic opportunity, education funding, business development: Whatever issues you care about, there’s a good chance the 70th Colorado General Assembly will try to do something about them in the coming months.

The lawmakers convened Wednesday with Democrats still in the majority in the House. But the Senate is now under Republican control, for the first time in a decade. Compromise will be key to getting bills passed.

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Jan 08

First day of Colorado legislative session targets gun control, abortion laws

DENVER – After a year of bitter contention over stricter gun laws, Colorado Republicans proposed bills on Wednesday that seek to repeal controversial legislation that was passed by Democrats in 2013.

The laws, which bans the possession of large-capacity (more than 15 rounds) magazines and require background checks for all private gun sales, triggered at least one lawsuit against the state and played a part in recall elections that put two southern Colorado lawmakers out of office.

HB 15-1009 would repeal the law banning possession and sale of large-capacity magazines. HB 15-1050, brought forward by Colorado Springs Republican Rep. Janak Joshi of House District 16, aims to repeal the background checks for the transfer of guns from non-licensed carriers.

Wednesday’s opening day of the Colorado legislative session included more than the anticipated repeal of gun laws.

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Jan 08

Lawmakers open 2015 session agreeing on education funding, but not on TABOR

Senators and their guests bow their heads during a prayer as the Colorado Legislature kicks off its 2015 session on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015.

(Photo: CPR/Megan Verlee)

 

Economic opportunity, education funding, business development: Whatever issues you care about, there’s a good chance the 70th Colorado General Assembly will try to do something about them in the coming months.

The lawmakers convened Wednesday with Democrats still in the majority in the House. But the Senate is now under Republican control, for the first time in a decade. Compromise will be key to getting bills passed.

The parties do seem to be on the same page in at least a few big areas, including boosting school funding and expanding workforce development programs.

However, Senate President Bill Cadman brought an agenda that also includes more polarizing ideas, like cutting regulations on business.

“Rolling back costly, useless regulations will make us more competitive. And if we are not sharpening our competitive edge in every place we can, we are losing it in every place we don’t,” said, while also warning of coming fights over what the state should do with its growing state tax revenue.

“We are about to face one of the best problems we have had in this legislature in a long time. It’s called prosperity,” Cadman said.

As soon as this year, Colorado may start sending money back to residents, as required by the Taxpayers Bill of Rights. Senate Republicans have said those refunds must go out. But Some Democrats want to ask voters to instead put the money into full-day kindergarten.

In the House, Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst warned that too few Coloradans are benefiting from the growing economy.

Continue reading

Dec 31

Governor Hickenlooper unveils next year’s Colorado budget & taxpayer refunds

Governor Hickenlooper unveils next year’s Colorado budget & taxpayer refunds

by Lisa Cyriacks

For the first time in many years, Colorado government finds itself in a position of having to refund tax revenue to voters. The refunds are required when state revenue exceeds the combined rate of inflation and population growth.

Taxpayer rebates totaling $167.2 million are mandated by Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), assuming current law and the accuracy of the September forecast by the Office of State Planning and Budget.

A $30.5 million rebate for new marijuana taxes is coming. Total state marijuana revenue was different than what was projected in the election blue book. (In November 2013, Colorado voters approved Proposition AA, which allowed a 10% retail sales tax and a 15% excise tax.) Because the estimated revenue subject to TABOR was underestimated, under TABOR the state must refund the money being collected or ask voters again to keep it for additional state spending.

According to Governor Hickenlooper, it will be important to engage the legislature when the session begins on the issue of marijuana sales tax revenue rebates. At the time he presented the proposed budget he advised that it would be unwise for the state to plan to spend any of those funds in advance of that discussion. Continue reading

Dec 25

EDITORIAL: Colorado tax ‘refunds’ will cost taxpayers dearly

The insult to injury of the TABOR Amendment is back: Colorado must refund hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to state residents, despite the widespread public needs

BY THE AURORA SENTINEL

As hopeless as it might seem, Colorado must revisit the argument over its ludicrous state tax “refunds” that hurt the state and all of us much more than any individual actually benefits.

If you’re new to these parts, Colorado suffers under a unwieldy and complicated set of restrictive budget laws dubbed the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR.

The measure was a product of Colorado’s notorious anti-tax crusader Douglas Bruce and misguided state voters who approved the state constitutional amendment in 1992. As it was sold to voters, the measure capped state taxes by requiring that tax increases be approved by voters. But the convoluted and labyrinthine measure does so much more. It not only caps taxes, but it caps spending. Part of the amendment sets government services at a baseline, so that when budgets decrease in lean tax years, a new, lower baseline is set, creating the so-called, dreaded ratchet-down effect.

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Dec 25

TABOR rears its ugly head

 City Sage

Maybe not, because it’s TABOR time. When Colorado tax revenues increase too rapidly, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and its arcane provisions authored by Douglas Bruce kick in, forcing the state to refund “surplus” tax revenues or ask voters for permission to retain them.

The state constitutional amendment may have seemed simple, transparent and commonsensical to the voters who approved it in 1992, but it isn’t. Sold as a measure that took away the power to raise taxes from spendthrift elected officials, the measure was far more complex.

Bruce wrote every word of the lengthy amendment, explicitly designed to shrink, hobble and defund Colorado governments at every level.

TABOR limits government revenue increases to an annual figure determined by population growth plus inflation. That may sound reasonable, but Bruce’s simplistic formula doesn’t work. It has forced the state to make continual service cuts and defer infrastructure maintenance and construction, because the world Bruce envisioned bears little resemblance to the world we live in.

In the real world, tax revenues may vary sharply during any multi-year period. If revenues are flat for years before rebounding sharply, too bad! The revenue cap starts from zero every fiscal year. The 2005 passage of Referendum C mitigated TABOR’s effects for a few years, and the recession made it irrelevant for a few more. But now it’s back with a vengeance.

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