Mar 11

Opinion: TABOR has united Coloradans

Opinion: TABOR has united Coloradans

PUBLISHED ON MAR 10, 2019 5:00AM MDT

Michael Fields@MichaelCLFields

Special to The Colorado Sun

In a growing partisan culture, there’s still something Coloradans ranging the political spectrum can agree on: the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).

In recent public polling, when given the simple, unbiased definition, 71 percent of registered voters in Colorado support TABOR, while only 28 percent oppose the law.

What’s the secret to this overwhelming popularity? First, Coloradans love being able to vote on tax increases. It’s simple: the government has to make the case to voters in order to get more of their hard-earned money.

Michael Fields

Second, TABOR provides guardrails for the size of government. The state budget still grows every year, but the growth is limited. TABOR keeps the government truly serving the people.

Over the past several years, voters have sent a message to state lawmakers by voting down the last six statewide tax increases on the ballot — most by huge margins.

But this hasn’t stopped lawmakers and progressive special interest groups from developing workarounds in the form of fees, enterprises, and lawsuits to allow the state to spend more taxpayer money. Continue reading

Mar 04

Will Democratic Primary Voters Tolerate a Liberal? A former Colorado governor will test whether the Sandernistas have taken over the party.

Will Democratic Primary Voters Tolerate a Liberal?

A former Colorado governor will test whether the Sandernistas have taken over the party.

By James Freeman

March 4, 2019 4:55 p.m. ET


Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper at a campaign house party in Manchester, N.H. last month. PHOTO: ELISE AMENDOLA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is claiming a socialist victory in the battle of ideas. Meanwhile former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is running for President and testing whether economic non-extremists can still win Democratic presidential primaries.

Sunday in Chicago, Mr. Sanders implied that people no longer view him as a Marxist kook. The Chicago Tribune reports on a Sanders speech at Navy Pier:

“Three years ago, they thought we were kind of crazy and extreme, not the case anymore,” he said. “We are not only going to defeat (President Donald) Trump, we are going to transform the United States of America.”

 

Mr. Sanders has certainly made extremism cool among Democratic presidential candidates. All of his fellow senators seeking the party’s nomination have joined him in co-sponsoring the Green New Deal and its promise of government health care and the end of traditional energy sources. They have also voted for an abortion policy so expansive that it allows adults to decide the fate of children even when they are no longer in the womb. Continue reading

Feb 15

Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights should be strengthened, not repealed

Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights should be strengthened, not repealed

JAY STOOKSBERRY

On Jan. 15, a briefly worded initiative was presented to the Colorado Title Board for consideration to be placed on the 2020 ballot. The brevity of the proposal was commendable. Five words was all it needed: “TABOR – Repeal (Full TABOR Repeal).” Though speculative at this point, defenders of Article X Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution — better known as the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) — should prepare for a fight in 2020.

Well before TABOR became law in 1992, opponents concocted every possible scenario as to how this new constitutional amendment would lead to fiscal armageddon in Colorado. Nearly three decades after its passing, most of this hyperbole — as is the case for most hyperbole — never materialized.

Where is Colorado from a fiscal perspective? According to the States Project, Colorado ranks 30th in the country for total state debt (including unfunded liabilities) as a percentage of gross state product. The Mercatus Center ranks our state as 28th in the nation regarding a combination of solvency for cash, budget, long-run spending, service-level flexibility, and unfunded liabilities. U.S. News ranked Colorado 31st in fiscal stability.

It would seem Colorado is middle of the pack at best. TABOR did not ruin our state’s ability to manage the general fund.

Contrary to popular wisdom of the Chicken Littles who warned about how damaging it would be to Colorado, TABOR doesn’t need to be repealed; it needs to be strengthened. Continue reading

Jan 22

TABOR Committee presents to the Japan Local Government Center

TABOR Committee presents to the Japan Local Government Center

On January 16, 2019 two representatives of the Japan Local Government Center met with TABOR Committee Chairman Penn Pfiffner to learn what proponents of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights know about the positive aspects of fiscal discipline.

The Center has seven offices around the globe that compare and contrast and learn from other countries’ practices. Working out of the New York City office is Ms. Kaori Kurauchi, an official with the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs. She was accompanied by Dr. Seth Benjamin, a Senior Researcher in the New York office. Ms. Kurauchi is on a two year assignment to research tax and expenditure limitations and other government fiscal limitations in America and Canada. Continue reading

Jan 17

Colorado Title Board denies attempt to repeal Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights

DENVER — The Colorado Title Board rejected a proposal on Wednesday to put a full repeal of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) before voters in a future election.

The board voted 3-0 that the proposal violated the single subject rule and the board did not have jurisdiction to set a ballot title.

Proponents Carol Hedges and Steve Briggs had an initial hearing before the Title Board at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Although voters several years ago passed new rules that make adding an amendment to Colorado’s constitution harder, it still only takes a simple majority to repeal an amendment.

Denver-based attorney Edward Ramey, who represented the proponents, said the proposal was to do “one thing and one thing only.”

“That’s to repeal Article X, Section 20 of the Constitution,” Ramey told the board. “I emphasize that because we’re not adding anything to it. We’re not trying to tweak anything. We’re not repealing and ellipsis doing anything. This is just a straight repeal.”

Ramey said the single subject debate keeps coming up because the consensus is TABOR itself contains more than one subject, but he disagreed with those findings. He cited a couple of Colorado Supreme Court rulings that addressed the subject in a manner that he believed favored his clients in this case. Continue reading

Dec 28

It’s Not Too Late….

The World Happiness Report provides data and research used around the world to help shape and inform policy.

Among its findings: giving to others is good for you.  It makes you feel happy.1-8

 Since 1992, the TABOR Foundation protects the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.  We educate citizens on why it matters to have a vote on increased taxes and how a formula for predictable growth creates a sound economy.

We are all volunteers.

We give advice and direction to citizens working at their local level to stop TABOR violations. We assist as plaintiffs and “friends of the courts in lawsuits to stop such violations.

The biggest trick of politicians is calling a new tax a “fee” – whether it’s for plastic grocery bags, living in a special district, running a hospital, driving over a bridge, or funding a mandatory family leave program with an insurance “fee.” We’ve responded to inquiries not just in Colorado, but in states like South Dakota, Kansas, Arizona, Alaska and Florida.

Please donate:

  • Help fund our Speaker’s Bureau to educate fellow taxpayers about their rights.
  • Help produce the TABOR 101 series of policy/how-to videos.
  • Help fund the legal fees for amicus briefs.

Please donate.   You – and we – will be happy you did.

Thanks – and Happy New Year!

Your friends at the TABOR Foundation

https://www.facebook.com/coloradoTABOR/

www.theTaborFoundation.org

Continue reading

Dec 15

Nicolais: An attack on TABOR could leave Colorado Democrats feeling the squeeze

Nicolais: An attack on TABOR could leave Colorado Democrats feeling the squeeze

A court composed of mostly Hickenlooper appointees turns the governor down cold, setting up a possible legislative showdown

PUBLISHED ONDEC 9, 2018 5:55AM MST

Mario Nicolais@MarioNicolaiEsq

Special to The Colorado Sun

Before walking out the door from the governor’s office, John Hickenlooper took one last shot at a Democratic boogeyman. Last week, the Colorado Supreme Court denied Hickenlooper’s parting attempt to undercut TABOR, the conservative taxpayer’s bill of rights enshrined in the Colorado constitution.

Democrats, have long derided TABOR for the constraints it places on government. Not only does TABOR require a vote of the people to approve tax increases, but several of its provisions work in conjunction with other laws to create a “ratcheting effect” on government spending.


Mario Nicolais

If revenues drop during an economic downturn, they cannot return to prior levels as the economy rebounds. Instead, growth is artificially tied to the down year plus a pittance for inflation.

The ratchet works like boa constrictor wrapped around a person. With every breath out, the snake squeezes a little tighter and the next breathe in is a little shallower.

Eventually, no breath can be drawn, and the person dies. I’m sure it delights TABOR’s progenitor, the eccentric Douglas Bruce, to imagine the government being asphyxiated.

Democrats have a little different view; they see a snake crushing the life from Colorado citizens. Gasping for funds no longer available, state and local services wither and waste away. Continue reading

Dec 10

Voter consent on taxes and debt a vital check in Democrat-controlled Colorado

Voter consent on taxes and debt a vital check in Democrat-controlled Colorado

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.

Photo and copyright: Tony’s Takes – used by permission

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.

Continue reading

Oct 19

Beware the seven county-wide property tax hike, Question 7G

Beware the seven county-wide property tax hike, Question 7G

October 19, 2018

By Karl Honegger

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