The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is under attack. For at least a decade, Democrats in the Colorado legislature — backed by the Colorado Supreme Court in erroneous rulings and occasionally supported by faithless Republicans — have thwarted some of the protections afforded to Coloradans by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
Ex-Basalt mayor touts new ‘social capital’ group
- John Fayhee, Special to the Aspen Daily News
Tim Belinski, developer of Willits Town Center, supports Rick Stevens’ idea of starting a social capital group in Basalt.
Madeleine Osberger/Aspen Daily News
A potentially positive proposal to salve some of the wounds caused by the contentious and increasingly expensive TABOR controversy in Basalt may end up butting heads with the same town government that had been inadvertently collecting property tax revenues for 10 years in violation of the state’s constitution.
All told, town officials estimate that about $2 million had been collected illegally, according to the fine print of TABOR — the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights — which was added to the state constitution by citizens’ referendum in 1992.
TABOR restricts revenues for all levels of government — state, local, special districts and schools. Under TABOR, state and local governments cannot raise tax rates without voter approval.
Two years after TABOR was enacted, Basalt voters approved a property tax rate of 6.151 mills. Soon thereafter, given the increase of real estate values in town, that rate was lowered, finally bottoming out at 2.56 mills in 2010. As real estate values struggled to recover from the Great Recession, Basalt was forced to gradually raise the mill levy to meet its basic operating costs.
DENVER — Although he campaigned on a promise to defend the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) despite his personal opinion of the nearly three decades old constitutional amendment, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser made his first move in the opposite direction by letting a deadline pass to argue an ongoing TABOR case in federal court.
Weiser had until Tuesday to ask that the entire circuit court hear the case after a 3-judge panel from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s ruling. The lower court had ruled that local governments do not have the right to sue.
“It’s disappointing that AG Weiser is not fully following through on his campaign promises,” said Michael Fields, Executive Director of Colorado Rising Action. “The rubber will hit the road when the merits of the TABOR case are heard, and he actually has to defend the constitution.”
Fields added that everyone should be concerned that Weiser chose not to defend the state’s constitution knowing he is not a TABOR supporter.
TABOR is a constitutional amendment passed in 1992 that, among other things, requires voter consent for new or increased taxes and debt, as well as limiting government revenues to a formula of population growth plus inflation. Under TABOR, governments in Colorado are required to refund excess revenue back to taxpayers, or get voter approval to keep it.
In 1994, two years after TABOR was enacted, Basalt residents voted 220 to 42 in favor of lifting TABOR revenue limits, thus allowing the town to keep any excess revenues it brings in over the regular revenue restrictions in TABOR. Numerous taxing authorities in Colorado have asked voters to do this to avoid having to pay out refunds when revenues exceed expectations.
Proposition CC, on the November 2019 ballot, gives government all extra tax monies collected above the TABOR limits – forever!
Vote No on Prop CC.
Over the next few months, the Takings Coalition, with its insatiable appetite for OUR money, will use every propaganda trick available to convince Colorado voters to give up our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) refunds – FOREVER! One vote and state government can keep all of our money – FOREVER!
That’s why we are fighting back against the ballot measure Proposition CC, and we need YOUR help today!
First, what is Prop CC? Simply, it’s a legislatively-referred ballot measure we’ll be deciding this fall. If voters say yes, then the state government will keep all of our TABOR refunds forever. It will cost Colorado taxpayers billions of dollars in perpetuity. It’s a forever tax increase on all of us, our children, and our grandchildren.
Prop CC is blank check for the legislature’s pet projects. Supporters say it will go to roads and schools, but there’s no guarantee. And we’ve seen the legislature play fast and loose with extra money from taxpayers such as Ref C dollars. Likely this money will go to backfill lost revenue from the oil and gas industry, an industry this legislature is trying to destroy.
Prop CC is a big step to total repeal of the greatest gift voters ever gave themselves and future generations – TABOR. Passed by voters in 1992, TABOR puts Coloradans, not politicians, in charge of the size and scope of government we want. It’s no wonder 71 percent of Colorado voters support TABOR.
No doubt the Prop CC proponents will claim the state is broke even though the budget will be nearly $32 billion. Since voters gave the initial thumbs up to TABOR, our budget has grown 300 percent. The state doesn’t need more of our money. The legislature needs to do its job and prioritize!
While voters love TABOR, the political elite, the professional Left, and special interests hate it. Over the last few days they’ve called TABOR and its supporters “brainwashed” “destructive” and “unconstitutional.”
After the November 5 election, they’ll be calling us winners because we will defeat Prop CC.
Lots of good people like former Governor Bill Owens, former U.S. Senator Hank Brown, CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, District Attorney George Brauchler, former State Treasurers Walker Stapleton and Mark Hillman and more all agree that Prop CC is bad for Colorado. We must get the word out to every Colorado voter! WE MUST SAVE OUR TAXPAYER’S BILL OF RIGHTS!
Will you join us? The other side will have lots of special interest money, but we have you! The No On CC issue committeeneeds $25,000 to get our digital campaign started and yard signs printed. Even $5 helps pay to print two signs!
Can we count on you to help us save TABOR now and for future generations? Can we count on you to contribute to this fight against the extremist overreaching majority at the Colorado State Legislature?
If you prefer to mail your contribution, please do so. Make the check payable to No On CC issue committee and mail to: No On CC Issue Committee, C/O Independence Institute, 727 E 16thAve, Denver, CO 80203.
If you’re a Colorado taxpayer, you better get a firm grip on your wallet. Once again, the forces of unlimited government and the folks who know how to spend your money better than you do are after it. The dragon they want to slay for the umpteenth time is commonly known as TABOR, The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
This was an amendment added to the state constitution via a ballot question by a direct vote of the people in the general election of 1992. It limits spending by all levels of government under a formula that considers population growth and inflation. It also requires approval by the voters for tax increases.