BASALT, COLORADO — The tiny town of Basalt, which lies between Carbondale and Aspen, is facing a difficult choice over a long-term mistake in interpreting the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). According to the town’s legal consultant, Dee Wisor, a Denver attorney and expert witness on TABOR, the town owes residents a refund for taxes illegally collected due to a misunderstanding of how TABOR works.
TABOR is a constitutional amendment passed in 1992 that, among other things, requires voter consent for new or increased taxes and debt, as well as limiting government revenues to a formula of population growth plus inflation. Under TABOR, governments in Colorado are required to refund excess revenue back to taxpayers, or get voter approval to keep it.
In 1994, two years after TABOR was enacted, Basalt residents voted 220 to 42 in favor of lifting TABOR revenue limits, thus allowing the town to keep any excess revenues it brings in over the regular revenue restrictions in TABOR. Numerous taxing authorities in Colorado have asked voters to do this to avoid having to pay out refunds when revenues exceed expectations.
The “Donor Disclosure” lawsuit is about the City of Denver’s ordinance to cause any organization to become an issue committee for speaking out about a Denver ballot measure. Our two organizations (TABOR Committee and the CUT Foundation) are the plaintiffs. We are represented by the Goldwater Institute. We lost on the issue of standing in District Court on February 5, 2019. Our attorneys have met the deadlines for an appeal.
This message is to let you know of progress made. Our brief was submitted timely on July 12th. The Defendant (City of Denver) has until August 16 to file its opening brief. The step after that will be our Reply brief, which will be due September 16.
Over the next few months, the Takings Coalition, with its insatiable appetite for OUR money, will use every propaganda trick available to convince Colorado voters to give up our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) refunds – FOREVER! One vote and state government can keep all of our money – FOREVER!
That’s why we are fighting back against the ballot measure Proposition CC, and we need YOUR help today!
First, what is Prop CC? Simply, it’s a legislatively-referred ballot measure we’ll be deciding this fall. If voters say yes, then the state government will keep all of our TABOR refunds forever. It will cost Colorado taxpayers billions of dollars in perpetuity. It’s a forever tax increase on all of us, our children, and our grandchildren.
Prop CC is blank check for the legislature’s pet projects. Supporters say it will go to roads and schools, but there’s no guarantee. And we’ve seen the legislature play fast and loose with extra money from taxpayers such as Ref C dollars. Likely this money will go to backfill lost revenue from the oil and gas industry, an industry this legislature is trying to destroy.
Prop CC is a big step to total repeal of the greatest gift voters ever gave themselves and future generations – TABOR. Passed by voters in 1992, TABOR puts Coloradans, not politicians, in charge of the size and scope of government we want. It’s no wonder 71 percent of Colorado voters support TABOR.
No doubt the Prop CC proponents will claim the state is broke even though the budget will be nearly $32 billion. Since voters gave the initial thumbs up to TABOR, our budget has grown 300 percent. The state doesn’t need more of our money. The legislature needs to do its job and prioritize!
While voters love TABOR, the political elite, the professional Left, and special interests hate it. Over the last few days they’ve called TABOR and its supporters “brainwashed” “destructive” and “unconstitutional.”
After the November 5 election, they’ll be calling us winners because we will defeat Prop CC.
Lots of good people like former Governor Bill Owens, former U.S. Senator Hank Brown, CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, District Attorney George Brauchler, former State Treasurers Walker Stapleton and Mark Hillman and more all agree that Prop CC is bad for Colorado. We must get the word out to every Colorado voter! WE MUST SAVE OUR TAXPAYER’S BILL OF RIGHTS!
Will you join us? The other side will have lots of special interest money, but we have you! The No On CC issue committeeneeds $25,000 to get our digital campaign started and yard signs printed. Even $5 helps pay to print two signs!
Can we count on you to help us save TABOR now and for future generations? Can we count on you to contribute to this fight against the extremist overreaching majority at the Colorado State Legislature?
If you prefer to mail your contribution, please do so. Make the check payable to No On CC issue committee and mail to: No On CC Issue Committee, C/O Independence Institute, 727 E 16thAve, Denver, CO 80203.
For more information visit our Website VoteNoOnCC.com. Click herefor more information on our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights
What’s your opinion of Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution? I suspect the reply of the overwhelming majority of Coloradans to that question would be: “Huh?” But hold that thought.
If you’re a Colorado taxpayer, you better get a firm grip on your wallet. Once again, the forces of unlimited government and the folks who know how to spend your money better than you do are after it. The dragon they want to slay for the umpteenth time is commonly known as TABOR, The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
This was an amendment added to the state constitution via a ballot question by a direct vote of the people in the general election of 1992. It limits spending by all levels of government under a formula that considers population growth and inflation. It also requires approval by the voters for tax increases.
While still in the ballot-question womb and from the moment of its birth, TABOR has been generally supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats. To circumvent TABOR, Democrat governors and legislators have sometimes gotten away with the charade of disguising tax increases as new “fees.”
As our state’s roads continue to get worse and worse, Coloradans are wondering when the legislature is finally going to make them a priority.
Earlier this month, a portion of U.S. Highway 36 collapsed, briefly shutting down the main connection between Boulder and Denver. The road was built only a couple of years ago through a public-private partnership – and the estimated cost to fix it is $20 million.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has direct oversight over these road projects, and the legislature has direct oversight over CDOT.
So, it’s worthwhile to look both at CDOT’s performance, and how much focus (or lack of focus) the legislature has been putting on fixing our roads.
A newly released state performance audit looked at CDOT from 2016-17 – and the findings are quite alarming. CDOT spent 37% – $582.7 million – more than its approved budget for 2016-17. In the real world, most of us would get fired from our jobs if we overspent our budgets by 37%.
But that wasn’t CDOT’s only problem. The agency did not properly track how $1.3 billion was spent. While not finding any blatant fraud, the audit did say there was “suspicious patterns and anomalies.”
This was happening around the same time that CDOT decided to build new offices for itself, costing taxpayers $150 million. With tone-deaf decisions like these, it’s no wonder why taxpayers continually shoot down statewide tax increases.
Transportation and education lobbyists, whose organizations stand to directly benefit from a victory this November, told The Denver Post they hadn’t heard of an active campaign in support of Proposition CC yet. No record of one exists in the Secretary of State’s Office’s online system, and major Democratic firms like Onsight Public Affairs haven’t been hired to assist anyone.
The Post couldn’t find a Democrat who would talk about it on the record.
“For a lot of people we talk to this is the first time they’ve ever heard about (Proposition CC),” said Jesse Mallory, who runs the Colorado arm of Americans for Prosperity. “We get to explain the true impact it would have, and what the legislature is truly asking.”