Court of Appeals sides with Landmark HOA | The Villager News Online
Ruling says district’s taxes were levied illegally
BY TOM BARRY
In a unanimous decision, three judges on the Colorado Court of Appeals have sided with the Landmark Homeowners Association over UMB Bank, N.A., Colorado Bondshares and Marin Metropolitan District.
Judges Jerry Jones, John Webb and Laurie Booras issued their opinion April 21, about five weeks after oral arguments were presented.
It is considered likely that the defendants will appeal to the same court or ask that the case go before the state Supreme Court. Neil Arney, an attorney with Kutak Rock representing the defendants, has challenged each case finding since the civil-suit process began. He did not return repeated requests for comment.
The court ruling was based largely on the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights in the Colorado Constitution.
“In sum, because the TABOR election was conducted illegally with the participation of ineligible voters and without constitutionally required notice to eligible voters, the District’s taxes to pay the bonds were levied illegally,” said the 35-page detailed opinion issued by the Court of Appeals on April 21. “Pursuant to TABOR’s refund provision, the District must refund all illegal taxes paid with 10 percent annual simple interest. … The Landmark buyers are also entitled to an order enjoining the District from levying any further taxes without proper voter approval.”
Landmark Towers Taxpayers Entitled to Tax Relief After 5 Year Legal Battle
Denver, Colorado (PRWEB) April 29, 2016
After a five year legal battle, the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that homeowners at the Landmark Towers high-rise condominiums will receive refunds of property taxes paid to the Marin Metropolitan District dating back to 2009 (Court of Appeals Nos. 14CA2099 & 14CA2463). The homeowners at the Landmark have been represented by Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. since the beginning of this lawsuit. “This decision by the Court of Appeals represents a real victory for taxpayers,” said Brian K. Matise, lead counsel for the homeowners. “We are happy to have obtained this result for our clients.”
The Colorado Court of Appeals determined that the property taxes were levied without the Landmark homeowners approval, a violation of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (“TABOR”). Additionally, it also held that the TABOR election was held under false pretenses. These decisions upheld the determination of the trial court, rendered in 2014.
“This decision will return real money to these homeowners,” said David P. Hersh, co-counsel on this matter. Pursuant to TABOR’s refund provision, the District must refund all illegal taxes paid with ten percent annual simple interest. Based on the State of Colorado public filings, the Marin Metropolitan District illegally collected $3,723,503 in property taxes from 2009 through 2013. With interest, the total refund obligation is expected to exceed $5 million.
Created in 2007, the Marin Metropolitan District was developed to help finance a new subdivision to the south of the Landmark development. Including two condominium buildings and a retail center, The Landmark sits on 15 acres at East Berry Avenue and Interstate 25 in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
The Landmark homeowners have been represented by Brian K. Matise, David P. Hersh, Diane Vaksdal Smith, and Nelson Boyle of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. throughout the life of this action.
For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/04/prweb13380322.htm
A desire to fix roads and fund schools led at least two House Republicans on Thursday to join Democrats to give preliminary approval to a bill that frees up about $700 million in state revenue for those purposes.
The legislation would re-categorize revenue collected under the seven-year-old hospital provider fee, which now goes into the state’s general fund and is subject to spending caps imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
Colorado House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso and House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst debate the hospital-provider fee bill.
Most Republicans question the constitutionality of changing how the hospital provider fee revenue is accounted for, calling it a “magic trick.” The fee program collects money from the hospitals for each patient they treat and leverages the money to bring in the same amount of federal funds.
GOP members argue that the maneuver alsol would cost Coloradans the chance to get Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights refunds for many years.
But House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst — the Boulder County Democrat who sponsored both the hospital provider fee bill originally said the legislation allocates money that doesn’t come in through tax collections and puts it toward transportation, higher education, K-12 schools and other priorities.
A coalition of more than 100 business and civic groups back the measure. Hullinghorst argued that money that will be put toward these needs will improve the state economy much more than sending small refunds back to residents.
“I believe this bill is the most important we will consider this session for one single reason — its adoption ultimately would touch the lives of every single Coloradan,” Hullinghorst told the House during a roughly 3-1/2-hour debate. Continue reading
Colorado’s Budget Settled, Debate Coming On Taxes, Refunds « CBS Denver .
Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst and other Democrats, including Gov. John Hickenlooper, want the fee set aside to avoid refunds under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, free millions of dollars for Colorado’s underfunded roads and schools, and give momentum to pending ballot initiatives that would ease TABOR’s grip on state finances.
It’s a debate that some thought settled well before both chambers approved the $27 billion budget last week. Not so, said Hullinghorst, a Boulder Democrat.
“In this budget we managed to get by, but next year it will be twice as bad with cuts in education and higher education,” she said. The House could debate her bill this week.
Hullinghorst said reclassifying the fee can provide at least five years’ flexibility to spend more on schools and roads, and tackle TABOR and other constitutional restrictions on budget writers’ room to maneuver.
TABOR requires refunds whenever total state income surpasses a cap that’s based on inflation and population, not the economy’s performance.
Bipartisan Hospital Provider Fee Bill Introduced At Colorado Capitol
State lawmakers introduced a bill Monday that would eliminate tax refunds and give the state more money to spend.Colorado is collecting so much money that it has to send some of it back to residents, as required by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
But Democrats say there’s a big pot of money in the state budget that shouldn’t count toward the TABOR limit. It’s a fee hospitals pay that the state spends on expanding health coverage for the poor.
The new bill changes how the state accounts for this fee, making it exempt from TABOR. That would effectively allow the state to hold onto hundreds of millions of dollars it would otherwise have to pay out in tax rebates.
A separate measure, which would only apply to next year, directs lawmakers to spend the extra money on transportation, local governments, and schools.
The fee-change bill has bipartisan sponsorship. Sen. Larry Crowder, a Republican, says the change could help rural hospitals in his southeastern district.
However the Republicans who control the state Senate strongly oppose the reclassification, calling it an end-run around TABOR.
House Speaker Dickie Lee Hullinghorst said she tried to work with Senate leaders.
“There didn’t seem to be a way that we could get together,” she said. “And I felt that we had to move forward.”
DENVER – The speaker of the Colorado House said negotiations have reached a “stalemate” on a long-debated and highly anticipated proposal to retain more state revenue through an accounting change that would eliminate TABOR refunds in future years.
The prospects for the bills Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst introduced Monday are poor in the Republican-dominated Senate.
One of the bills reauthorizes a fee charged on hospital stays so that millions of dollars go into an enterprise fund that is exempt from the spending limits in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. The other bill spends the revenue the state would retain if the first bill passes.
Colorado House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst introduced her anticipated bill to turn the hospital provider fee into an enterprise fund Monday with two twists — a Republican sponsor in the Senate and a companion bill allocating general-fund money that would be freed up if the bill were to pass.
Created in 2009, the fee is assessed on hospitals for each night that a bed is filled with a patient, and the revenue is used to receive match funding from the federal government and to increase Medicaid eligibility for childless adults.
It has generated billions of dollars in reimbursements for hospitals that treated previously uninsured patients with no capacity to pay bills, but because the revenue counts against the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) revenue cap, it also pushes the state toward exceeding the cap and having to give taxpayers refunds with money that could otherwise have gone to areas such as education and transportation. Continue reading
Hospitals and road construction take a hit, but budget writers warn it could have been far worse
DENVER – The state will take in less money in 2016-17 than previously forecast by economists due in large part to the struggling global economy, but the roughly $90 million decrease in revenue, is a proverbial drop in Colorado’s $26 billion budget bucket.
Lawmakers will use the March forecast to set the fiscal year 2016-17 budget in the next week, but not much has changed from when the governor released his recommended budget in November. That is largely because lawmakers made mid-year adjustments to the 2015-16 budget to provide a budgeting cushion in case of a downturn.
Lawmakers on Friday received a forecast from Natalie Mullis, chief economist with the Legislative Council, and the governor’s budget office. This year the forecasts were extremely close.
“We did lower our expectations for general fund revenue,” Mullis said. “We already had expectations for slowed growth in revenue. In December we expected that general fund revenue would grow by 1.8 percent this year, which is actually negative if you adjust for population and inflation. It slowed down again a little bit, to 1.5 percent in this revenue forecast,”