Some States, Flush With Cash, Are Sending Money to Taxpayers
Ten years after the recession, many states have revenue surpluses and plan to boost spending or cut taxes
Krista talks with Michael Fields of Colorado Rising Action on TABOR polling
Feb 25, 2019
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popular wisdom of the Chicken Littles who warned about how damaging it would be to Colorado, TABOR doesn’t need to be repealed; it needs to be strengthened.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
January 28, 2019 By Sherrie Peif
DENVER — Two Denver residents behind a proposed ballot initiative to repeal the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) have filed for a rehearing after the Colorado Title Board initially rejected their proposal.
On Jan. 16, the Title Board denied setting a title on an initiative that would ask voters to repeal the 26-year-old constitutional amendment that requires voter approval to increase taxes or take on new debt. TABOR also limits the growth of a portion of the state budget to a formula of population growth plus inflation. The board said the initiative violated Colorado’s single subject rule.
Board member LeeAnn Morrill, who represented the Attorney General’s office, cited a Supreme Court decision over a 2002 proposed initiative that included a provision preventing the complete repeal of TABOR. She pointed out that the court stated in its decision: Continue reading
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
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
The Title Board is the first step in putting a citizen-initiated question before voters.
TABOR is a constitutional amendment that was passed by voters in 1992 that requires voter approval to increase taxes or take on new debt. It also limits the growth of a portion of the state budget to a formula of population growth plus inflation. It has been a controversial topic since its inception, and it’s been debated in the courts numerous times.
Many Democrats say it is a threat to Colorado’s education, transportation and health care funding, while Republicans counter that it is what has allowed the Colorado economy to prosper, as well as allowing Colorado to more easily weather economic downturns than states that lack taxpayer protections such as TABOR.
Many attempts to repeal or tweak portions of the amendment have come before the Title Board. This is the first time, however, that anyone can recall where a full repeal of the amendment has been proposed.