From: Douglas Bruce <Taxcutter@msn.com>
<email@example.com>, “President Kevin J. Grantham”
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Senator Kent Lambert
To all 18 Republican senators,
You are the only barrier to yet another TABOR violation. Just like the U. S. Senate on health insurance, we know 90% unanimity is not enough; you must be 100% united and show the public and your constituents it means something to be a Republican.
House Democrats and the governor are united in this latest effort to destroy TABOR. They will support any illegal action that puts government first and taxpayers last.
Even 17 GOP senators are not enough to prevent passing this “fix” that has already cast legislators into disrepute and ridicule.
SB 267 is a mess. It violates Article V, section 21, the single subject rule. It has a dozen issues that do not fit under the title. It violates TABOR (7)(d) by not adjusting the state’s fiscal year spending limit base when qualifying another enterprise.. Picking an arbitrary $200 million base reduction expanded the spending base by $400-600 million above that, without voter approval. That is not legal.
It violated TABOR’s requirement of voting on taxes to call a “fee” what all other states and the federal government call a hospital bed “tax.” That hurts your credibility.
Even if you voted for SB 267 in May, you can still admit your error in October. The call for the special session did not include a complete review, so you may not be able to undo the damage. But you can avoid making it worse.
Did you practice the Pelosi Principle? Instead of reading the bill carefully, did you let a last-three-day rush tactic cause you to skip reading carefully this bill on final passage? I know from general knowledge and my close-up observation in 2008 the legislature idles for the first 90 days before serious application to the pent-up flood of bills before you. Resolve to stop procrastinating. (Think about that tomorrow.)
Another violation that must end: collection of an expired or repealed tax is ILLEGAL. Yet the DOR and other tax collectors are still collecting it. They know the tax does not exist but they are taking it anyway. Heads should roll. That is plain stealing. Is that who you want in your revenue agency? I know from bitter personal experience the corruption in the Revenue Department. You must correct this abuse.
Tax money must be refunded to stores that paid it. If they kept charging it to customers because they didn’t know of the repeal, that money should be refunded to taxpayers, unless someone figures out a roughly proportional way of returning it to those pot purchasers who paid it.
You CANNOT reinstate the tax. There is no “accident” defense to violating TABOR. TABOR has no footnote or asterisk that says “*Void in the event politicians goof.”
If you reinstate the tax now, in January, or whenever, you will violate your oath of office. TABOR (4)(a) says voter approval is required for a new tax or extension of an expiring tax. The tax expired July 1. Accept that as a permanent reduction in the tax base for those special districts.
The general assembly is paying the price for thinking of more ways to violate TABOR. You KNOW the hospital provider “fee” is a TAX. Welfare handouts are not a “business,” particularly when 100% of the revenue comes from government and is recycled to government spending. See the definition of “enterprise” in TABOR (2)(d). If you violate this rule, what’s next? Another road and bridge “fee?” A police “fee?” An income “fee?” A sales transaction “fee?” A property “fee?”
You also put the state billions more in debt, despite TABOR (4)(b) and the outright ban on state debt in Article XI, sections 3, 4, and 5, except for “casual deficiencies” paid by a state real property tax, now ended by TABOR (8)(a). You can’t evade your moral responsibility because the supreme court lets you do it. They got their marble palace across the street in exchange for allowing COPs (“or other financial obligation whatsoever” per TABOR).. Your public oath to the constitution is at stake.
You may not think Divine Providence is involved, but consider. The state motto is “Nil Sine Numine” (“Nothing without Providence” or “Nothing without the Deity”). Stop trying to outsmart the voters. Stop trying another “end run” around TABOR. Stop trying to invent new loopholes. Obey the law in good faith. Your public approval rating is nearing single digits. The chickens have come home to roost. You have been “hoist by your own petard” (look it up in Google).
The TABOR author