Editorial endorsement: @ColoradoNewsCCM, which has 18 local newspapers, says to vote “No” on Prop CC.
Proposition CC – Retaining State Government revenue. VOTE NO.
A “yes” vote would allow the state to retain any surplus of revenues in excess of spending not only in fiscal year 2018-2019 but in all years to come. A “no” vote requires the state to refund budget surpluses to taxpayers as now required under current law.
In the Colorado Constitution, The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) limits state government spending and taxation through a formula tied to population growth and inflation. Direct voter approval is required to change the limit. Article X, Section 20 (7) (d) reads: “If revenue from sources not excluded from fiscal year spending exceeds these limits in dollars for that fiscal year, the excess shall be refunded in the next fiscal year unless voters approve a revenue change as an offset.”
Through that last clause, Prop CC is asking voters to give up their prospective TABOR refunds permanently. It would spend those budget surpluses in equal shares on K-12 education, higher education and transportation without specifying how the money will be spent within those categories, leaving that to legislative whims now and in the future. Look at it this way: state government spending on K-12 in FY 2018-2019 exceeded $7 billion. Eliminating taxpayer refunds would direct an additional $103 million to K-12 education starting in FY 2020-2021. Seven billion is seven thousand million. One hundred million is a comparative drop in the bucket.
Colorado Proposition CC
What it asks: “Without raising taxes and to better fund public schools, higher education, and roads, bridges, and transit, within a balanced budget, may the state keep and spend all the revenue it annually collects after June 30, 2019, but is not currently allowed to keep and spend under Colorado law, with an annual independent audit to show how the retained revenues are spent?”
What it means: Proposition CC would allow the state to retain revenue it refunds under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights for education and transportation purposes. The measure would require the state auditor to hire a private entity to conduct an annual financial audit regarding use of funds as provided under the measure.
It will allow state government to keep the money it collects from existing sources annually instead of refunding some to taxpayers when annual revenue growth, which is tied to inflation and the percentage change in state population, exceeds that. Any money collected above this limit is refunded to taxpayers unless the voters allow the state to spend it.
Proposition CC would eliminate that cap allowing the state to keep and spend all future excess revenue on transportation, K-12 schools and higher education rather than refunding it to taxpayers.
Conservative think tank opposes tax refund, sports betting ballot measures
The think tank, part of Colorado Christian University, says it’s opposing Propositions CC and DD because they aren’t fiscally responsible and don’t help families in the state. The state constitution’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) requires voter approval for all tax increases.
“Colorado is more free, families are stronger, and our state budget is healthier if both Proposition CC and Proposition DD are rejected,” Centennial Institute Director Jeff Hunt said.
When state government collects revenue above its spending cap, TABOR requires that money to be refunded back to taxpayers. Proposition CC asks voters to allow state government to permanently keep the occasional tax refunds.
DON’T GIVE LEGISLATURE A BLANK CHECK
In your upcoming mail ballot you will be asked to give the state of Colorado a blank check. Don’t be tricked into believing the initial language “without raising taxes…”
Proposition CC is a tax increase forever. Colorado taxpayers will no longer receive (forever) any of their tax rebates (refunds) of their hard earned money if Proposition CC passes.
Colorado Legislature has tricked us in the past by saying requested tax increases would fund roads, bridges, education, teacher pay, and on and on, but when our taxpayer money was spent, the Legislature decided to divert it elsewhere due to lobby and special interest groups pressure. The Legislature has consistently broken promises to Colorado voters. Recently, Colorado voters rejected 13 ballot measures at the state level by a wide margin. Because Colorado voters defeated the Colorado Legislature’s request for more funds, the Legislature now proposes to “trick” Colorado voters again.
This Proposition will “gut” the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (also known as TABOR). The Taxpayer Bill of Rights requires voter approval for any increase in taxes or debt. This is our Taxpayer Bill of Rights, not the Legislature’s, do not vote to give it away forever.
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights has been the only way voters have kept Colorado from spending taxpayer funds to the maximum, as done in California.
Proposition CC will forever remove Colorado seniors and veterans property tax exemptions. This will put seniors and veterans at risk, and place more pressure on local budgets.
Colorado communities have individually voted property tax increases to fund local schools and other services such as fire departments (we can locally determine if funds are being spent as represented), and if Proposition CC passes, those seniors and veterans on fixed incomes will have a difficulty paying local property tax bills.
Colorado has a top ranked economy. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights has contributed to Colorado’s success. Colorado has one of the lowest tax rates in the country providing a positive location for business investment and jobs.
If our Taxpayer Bill of Rights is repealed, over $1.7 billion collected over the next 3 years will not be refunded to Colorado taxpayers.
The Legislature already has a $32.5 billion budget… enough is enough! This budget automatically increases with population and inflation. The Legislature has enough of our money.
The Legislature must be held to account and budget just as we do with our personal budgets.
Mary Ann Smith
DENVER — A New York City-based organization has doubled down on getting involved in Colorado’s election this year.
More specifically, Education Reform Now Advocacy (ERNA), which initially sent the “Coloradans for Prosperity aka Yes on Prop CC” campaign committee $100,000 to push a ballot effort to permanently eliminate tax refunds under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), sent another $352,000 to the campaign, according to a Major Contributors Report filed by Yes on CC Monday.
According to the ERNA website, it believes that “every child should receive an adequate and equitable allocation of resources no matter their race, socioeconomic status, or zip code nor whether they are enrolled in a traditional district-run public school or public charter school.”
Dan Ritchie, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Denver told a crowd of mostly Democrat law makers, teachers and students who officially kicked off the campaign last week, that they needed to beware of money from outside of Colorado being spent from the opposition, referring to Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a Washington D.C.-based organization.
According to AFPs website, it advances “policies that will help people improve their lives.” AFP Colorado recently spent nearly $500,000 on a media campaign to oppose Prop CC.
Although both AFP and ERNA have Colorado offices, the difference in the two organizations is their direct ties to the official yes and no on CC groups.
AFP is an independent group making its own decisions on how to target the No on CC message. ERNA is donating directly to the Yes on CC campaign, which will determine how to spend the money.
The additional revenue puts the Yes on CC campaign at slightly more than $2 million in donations, while No on CC has reported only $17,000 in total contributions.