Why TABOR matters:
The TABOR Committee provided input, recommendations, and education for citizens opposing a tax rate increase in their local Urban Flood Control District
TABOR Committee members,
The TABOR Committee benefits from having two attorneys staying on top of a new threat to TABOR. One of our Board members, Rebecca Sopkin, and our corporate attorney, Bill Banta, have been watching the developments of a proposed measure that would repeal TABOR in its entirety. The initiated ballot issue would have to collect signatures first before going on this fall’s ballot. The first Title-Setting Board hearing rejected the proposal because it violated the single-subject requirement. After all, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights deals, among other things, with taxing limits on all levels of government, the same for spending limits, specific election requirements, notification requirements, emergency spending and state mandates. The proponents of the measure appealed the initial single-subject ruling, asking for a rehearing. On February 6, at the rehearing, the Title Board upheld its prior decision. Therefore, no title is presently approved for the repeal initiative.
The system is set up to move along faster than normal for any further appeals. The proponents (Carol Hedges and Steve Briggs) may appeal directly to the Colorado Supreme Court to reverse the Title Board’s decision. That skips hearings at the trial court level and the Appellate Court level. There is no automated system to notify objectors (i.e., the TABOR Committee) if that appeal is filed, but our volunteers will keep monitoring for further developments.
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
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