Mar 03

Tax Payer Bill Of Rights (TABOR) at center of heated debate

Taxpayers Bill of Rights foundation member Penn R. Pfiffner discusses TABOR at the event “Social Perspectives: conversation, debate and understanding.” The event was held by the Denver Post at the Denver Press Club on Feb. 28.
Photo by Taelyn Livingston • tliving4@msudenver.edu

Kristi Hargrove voted for Donald Trump in the last election. From Crested Butte, which she calls a liberal town, she identifies as a proud Republican.

“My daughter came home from school, she was in middle school, complaining about how cold she was at school,” Hargrove said. It was around 2003. “I said to her, well wear more clothes, because you never put on enough clothes.”

However, when Hargrove went to work on a student directory for her P.T.A., she had trouble because her fingers were freezing. After confronting the principle, she found out the school had turned down the utilities.

“We live in a fairly affluent area and I thought that was ridiculous,” she said. “My comment to her was, ‘who’s wasting money?’” Continue reading

Mar 03

TABOR reform measure passes first test with bipartisan support

photo - An effort to reform the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, or TABOR, passed its first test on Monday with Republican support. File photo.An effort to reform the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, passed its first test on Monday with Republican support. File photo.An effort to reform the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, passed its first test on Monday with Republican support, though the legislation faces an uphill battle.

Some TABOR observers call it progress that two Republicans are sponsoring the effort to change how the state calculates its spending cap.

The bill received bipartisan support from the House Finance Committee. It heads to appropriations for consideration.

Despite the bipartisan support, Rep. Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction and Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa, sponsors of House Bill 1187, are still mavericks on the subject though an evolution appears to be underway.

“Let’s merely take a look at TABOR one more time and see how it’s working over the last 25 years, and if it’s working we leave it alone, and if it’s not working we make an adjustment,” Thurlow said during a well-attended hearing at the Capitol.

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Mar 03

Panel Oks bill to ask voters about TABOR change

DENVER (AP) — The Latest on a bill to loosen a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights limit on Colorado state revenues (all times local):

5:20 p.m. p.m.

 A proposal by two Republican lawmakers to potentially increase how much revenue the state can keep without issuing tax refunds has passed a Colorado House committee.

The Democrat-led House Finance Committee voted 10-3 Monday to refer the bill by Republican Rep. Dan Thurlow and GOP Sen. Larry Crowder to the House Appropriations Committee.

Their bill would ask voters in November to change the way annual state revenue limits are calculated under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

It could allow the state to keep hundreds of millions of dollars for roads, education and other priorities.

Opponents argued that any proposed change to TABOR, a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1992, should be in the form of a constitutional amendment — not a statutory change called for by the bill.

Constitutional changes carry tougher ballot qualification and voter passage benchmarks.

___

11:35 a.m.

Two Colorado Republicans want to loosen a constitutional restriction on how much revenue the state can receive without having to issue tax refunds.

Rep. Dan Thurlow and Sen. Larry Crowder say it’s time to have a conversation about those limits 25 years after voters approved them under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

Republicans long have opposed TABOR tampering, arguing excess revenues belong to taxpayers.

But Thurlow and Crowder say individual refunds would be pocket change when the state faces a $500 million budget deficit.

Their bill would ask voters in November to change the way TABOR’s annual revenue limits are calculated. It would potentially allow the state to keep hundreds of millions of dollars for roads, education and other priorities.

A House committee hears testimony on the bill Monday.

http://www.thechronicle-news.com/news/ap_news/the-latest-panel-oks-bill-to-ask-voters-about-tabor/article_9bc10e21-8358-5db0-b641-368887a6a572.html

Feb 26

After 25 years, TABOR still works for you

Douglas Bruce, author of the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, is pictured in 2005 working on the campaign against Referendum C .

By Penn R. Pfiffner and Douglas Bruce | Guest Commentary

PUBLISHED: February 24, 2017 at 1:01 pm

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights works for you and its 25th anniversary this year is worth celebrating. Once again in 2017 you need to protect TABOR from the political elite attacking it.

TABOR belongs to you. It is how you set a broad control on government that must answer to you and your fellow citizens. It has succeeded in keeping a better balance between costly government programs and healthy family budgets.

Everyone has to live within a budget. That’s just life. Staying in budget brings stability to your family and helps you choose the most important ways to spend your money. The value of living within a budget applies not just to individuals and families, but also to government. That’s just smart — and fair.

To read the rest of this story, click (HERE):

Dec 31

Should city ask voters’ permission to keep refund? Murray says “no.”

POSTED BY ON THU, DEC 29, 2016 AT 1:00 PM

Councilor Bill Murray is raising a lot of questions. - FILE PHOTO

  • FILE PHOTO
  • Councilor Bill Murray is raising a lot of questions.

Next month, Mayor John Suthers plans to ask City Council to place a measure on the April 4 city election ballot seeking voter approval to let the city keep excess revenue.

Suthers says he wants the roughly $7 million collected in 2016 above caps imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to be spent on flood control. The measure would also ask voter approval to allow the city to keep excess revenue collected in 2017 for the same purpose. That estimated dollar figure hasn’t been disclosed publicly.

Seems like a no-brainer, given the city’s enormous backlog of stormwater projects, but at least one city councilor isn’t capitulating automatically.

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Dec 14

Suthers gets no push back on TABOR measure

Suthers gets no push back on TABOR measure

POSTED BY ON TUE, DEC 13, 2016 AT 1:51 PM

Camp Creek erosion is one reason the city needs money for drainage projects. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS

  • COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Camp Creek erosion is one reason the city needs money for drainage projects.

It’s looking like a “go” for an April 4 city election ballot measure seeking voter approval to lift the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights revenue cap for 2016 and 2017 to fund stormwater projects.

Mayor John Suthers asked City Council today to place the measure on the ballot, noting the 2016 figure could be $7 million or more. If refunded, which typically is achieved through utility bills, the refund would total about $36 per household, Suthers said.

As previously reported by the Independent, Suthers wants to use the excess revenue to beef up the city’s work on drainage control, given a Nov. 9 lawsuit against the city filed by the federal government, which noted longstanding violations of the Clean Water Act.

City Council will vote in late January on referring such a measure to voters, at which time Suthers promised to provide a more precise revenue figure. He received no push back at today’s meeting.

In other business, Councilor Bill Murray asked colleagues to place a measure on the ballot that would open the door for the city to partner with companies to provide broadband internet service. That measure is to be voted on later today.

http://www.csindy.com/IndyBlog/archives/2016/12/13/suthers-gets-no-push-back-on-tabor-measure
Dec 08

Ballot measure would ask to keep TABOR excess for stormwater

Ballot measure would ask to keep TABOR excess for stormwater

Mayor wants more

  • COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Camp Creek’s erosion is one example of drainage needs.

Mayor John Suthers says he’ll ask City Council to refer a question to the April 4 city election ballot seeking to retain excess revenue collected in 2016 and 2017 that’s subject to limits imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

But that sum totaling several million dollars, which would be funneled to stormwater needs, is only a short-term fix for the city’s burgeoning drainage needs, Suthers says via email.

“Colorado Springs needs a dedicated revenue stream to fund its stormwater program,” he says. “To proceed without one over a significant period of time would put too much pressure on the general fund to the detriment of public safety and other priorities.”

Discussion among Council members is swirling around the idea of simply imposing a fee or taking a measure to voters. But a stormwater-fee measure won’t be on the April ballot, according to Council President Merv Bennett, and not on the November ballot either.

And there seems to be little appetite for a fee from several other council members consulted for this story.

 

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Oct 23

Detailing Pueblo West’s Initiative 5A

KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Pueblo West will be voting on an initiative that would help fund a new community pool, but it would be using excess money that is supposed to be returned to the taxpayer.

Pueblo West tried voting on de-brucing, but that didn’t work, so the ballot is calling for a TABOR timeout for the next ten years to pay for an aquatic center. Basically that means a ‘yes’ vote allows Pueblo West to obtain all tax revenue, a ‘no’ vote would keep Colorado TABOR laws in place which puts a cap on tax revenue a municipality can obtain, and that municipality has to refund the money to the taxpayers.

Pueblo West’s initiative 5A would bring partial funding for a new pool. Grant Shay says because of the current pool being overcrowded, his kids were turned away. Continue reading

Oct 16

Town may need to refund $400K

By David Persons Trail-Gazette

POSTED:   10/14/2016 09:42:15 AM MDT

The Estes Park Town Board was notified by Town Attorney Greg White on Tuesday night in an executive session that the town might be in violation of parts of the TABOR amendment.

The Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR, was an amendment to the state constitution passed statewide by voters in 1992. Its intent was to limit annual growth in state and local tax revenues and have all tax increases voted on by residents.

However, one of the little known provisions of TABOR is the requirement that taxing entities must provide information in advance of the vote about how much tax is estimated to be generated in the first year.

 

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