Oct 12

Letter: Don’t be misled by TABOR haters

In his Oct. 10 column, John Young got it wrong. Among the many poor interpretations he offers to oppose the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights is that it forces “crazy things like ask(ing) voters for permission to spend money they’ve authorized.” Much of his opinion piece attacks the part of TABOR that requires governments to get voter approval if the proponents of a tax increase don’t calculate the increase correctly.

However, that TABOR requirement leads directly to greater government accountability and transparency. That’s good.

Young misdirects his anger at the duplicate vote. He should instead direct his impatience at the inaccurate information offered by the tax increase proponents.

The Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights requires that you know what the cost will be for any new program or expansion of an existing program. You can weigh whether the price is worth it. The voter then can make an informed decision.

No one wants to give proponents of any measure the incentive to underestimate the cost. Yet, if low-balling the cost helps the measure to pass, there would be pressure for proponents to fudge the numbers. Better to get it right.

Whenever government will grow faster than the automatic increases allowed every year, the voter should know by how much. Voters must demand strict accountability and honesty in creating the estimates. Don’t let tax increase proponents hide the real cost of the programs; don’t let Young mislead you.

There are people who want government to increase its reach into our lives and to spend more of your money on public goods; these folks will always oppose the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights. Let them present their arguments fairly and truthfully, but they should not argue for eliminating honesty and accountability.

Penn R. Pfiffner, chairman of the TABOR Committee, is a former legislator who has been involved in fiscal policy issues for over three decades.

Sep 29

One Rural Colorado District Sees Closing Funding Gap As Voter Education Challenge

RE-1 Valley Superintendent Jan DeLay giving a presentation discussing the finances of the school district. By building more understanding of the situation, she believes she can build momentum for a $2 million ballot measure for funding.

Jenny Brundin/CPR News

How schools are funded in Colorado is so complex, there’s a joke that only five people in the state truly understand it.

Superintendent Jan DeLay in northeastern Colorado’s RE-1 Valley School District is on a mission to change that. She’s convinced that once average citizens understand why so many districts like hers are in a fiscal crisis, they’ll approve a local tax measure on the ballot to fund RE-1.

The money would be would be used to attract and keep teachers and to expand academic opportunities for students through technology, textbooks and other programs.

The last time the district passed a mill levy was in 2005, for $500,000 to update buildings, technology, textbooks and transportation. DeLay says that money is gone within the first couple of months in the new school year. Continue reading

Aug 17

Letter: ‘The rest simply pay for it’

My wife and I have lived in Pueblo West for nearly seven years.

We bought property and built a new home here because of the rural feel, the privacy, the huge vistas and to escape the many downfalls of the city of Pueblo.

Not the least of which was the ceaseless badgering by city council and other government entities for more money for pet projects.

Ballot tax initiatives were repeated ad nauseum due to a refusal to take no for an answer. We grew weary of the arrogance associated with that mindset and having to repeatedly fend off the never ending assaults on our wallets.

Recently, we have witnessed an increase in efforts of this ilk here in Pueblo West. Continue reading

Aug 06

Hate Big Government? Crush New Smoking Taxes

Hate Big Government? Crush New Smoking Taxes.

POSTED BY ON JUL 12, 2016 IN BLOG

Hate Big Government? Crush New Smoking Taxes.

 Aren’t you glad we live in a state where, due to TABOR, politicians have to ask us before soaking hardworking taxpayers? I like to call it “consensual taxation.”

In 2013, Coloradans overwhelmingly defeated Amendment 66, which would have been a $1 billion annual tax increase. The politicians wanted this tax increase, but the voters said no by a margin of 66-34. Thanks to TABOR, they had to ask us. We said politely declined.

This November, we will have the opportunity to vote on Amendment 69, which would create a single-payer health plan in Colorado at the cost of a new 10% payroll tax. It’s been widely panned, even by the Democrats, including US Senator Michael Bennet.

 

Continue reading

Jul 20

Colorado Court of Appeals rejects challenge under Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights

Colorado Court of Appeals rejects challenge under Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights – Lexology

In a case decided on June 30, 2016, the Colorado Court of Appeals considered whether the Regional Transportation District and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District violated the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (“TABOR”). The Court of Appeals’ decision reflects, courts are reluctant to invalidate legislation on TABOR grounds. The decision also makes it more difficult to challenge TABOR.

TABOR requires advance voter approval before a district may collect any new tax, increase a tax rate, or change a tax policy that causes a net tax revenue gain. Under Colorado law, the Regional Transportation District and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (the “Districts”), along with the state, are granted taxing power.

In 2009, the legislature removed the state sales tax exemption for cigarettes, but the exemption remained in place for the Districts. In other words, the state could collect sales tax on cigarettes starting in 2009, but the Districts could not. The legislature also removed exemptions for direct mail advertising materials, candy, soda, and food containers in 2010, but these exemptions remained in place for the Districts.

 

Continue reading

Jun 20

Vote NO on Initiative 117

FYI, Vote NO on Initiative 117. Spread the word.
 

Initiative #117

State Spending
Proposes amending the Colorado statutes to:
  • allow the state to keep and spend all revenue it collects through June 30, 2026;
  • raise the limit on the amount the state may keep and spend beginning July 1, 2026; and
  • require that any money the state keeps over its existing limit be spent on education, transportation projects, mental health services, and senior services, rather than refunding the money to taxpayers.
initiative 117
http://www.leg.state.co.us/LCS/Initiative%20Referendum/1516initrefr.nsf/b74b3fc5d676cdc987257ad8005bce6a/d87ae53dd844f43a87257fae00744f6f/$FILE/2015-2016%20117v1.pdf