Feb 26

After 25 years, TABOR still works for you

Douglas Bruce, author of the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, is pictured in 2005 working on the campaign against Referendum C .

By Penn R. Pfiffner and Douglas Bruce | Guest Commentary

PUBLISHED: February 24, 2017 at 1:01 pm

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights works for you and its 25th anniversary this year is worth celebrating. Once again in 2017 you need to protect TABOR from the political elite attacking it.

TABOR belongs to you. It is how you set a broad control on government that must answer to you and your fellow citizens. It has succeeded in keeping a better balance between costly government programs and healthy family budgets.

Everyone has to live within a budget. That’s just life. Staying in budget brings stability to your family and helps you choose the most important ways to spend your money. The value of living within a budget applies not just to individuals and families, but also to government. That’s just smart — and fair.

To read the rest of this story, click (HERE):

Feb 24

Listen To The Alaska Legislature Hearing Testimony On TABOR

Penn Pfiffner, who is probably the foremost authority on TABOR in the state, a former Colorado legislator, and member of the TABOR Committee Board of Directors, will testify about this

Dear Mr. Pfiffner,

Thank you for speaking with me about logistics. Here are some of the things to keep in mind for remote testimony:

Time Allotted

We are anticipating 10-15 minutes for your testimony followed by an opportunity for committee members to ask questions. I anticipate that the Q&A segment will last anywhere from 10-15 minutes.

Committee Edict

At the beginning of the hearing Senator Dunleavy will introduce you. He will then ask you to state your name for the record and begin your testimony. Upon completing your prepared testimony we will allow time for questions. When a senator asks you a question you are able to respond to that individual “through the chair.” For example: Continue reading

Feb 19

The Tax System Explained in Beer

bere

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing. The fifth would pay $1. The sixth would pay $3. The seventh would pay $7. The eighth would pay $12. The ninth would pay $18. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

Continue reading

Feb 19

25 years of TABOR, share your thoughts

Karl Gehring, Denver Post file

The late state Sen. Ken Gordon carries a sign at the Colorado Capitol showing support for Referendums C and D in September 2005. That was the last time voters were asked to allow the state to escape some of the spending limits under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Voters passed one proposal and killed the other.

By DP OPINION | openforum@denverpost.com

February 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Next Sunday’s Denver Post Perspective section will be dedicated to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, which Colorado voters passed 25 years ago. Please send us your thoughts on TABOR: Is it working or not? Should it be amended? Should it be repealed? E-mail us at openforum@denverpost.com with the subject line “TABOR.” Keep your comments to no more than 150 words. We will publish a selection of your responses in Sunday Feb. 26.

Writers will include Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, TABOR author Douglas Bruce, and more.
Additionally on Tuesday, Feb. 28 The Denver Post, Denver Press Club and the Colorado Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America will host a Social Perspectives event at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Pl. Readers can come and ask questions of the writers and experts who tackle TABOR in Sunday’s Perspective section. The event — free and open to the public — is intended to promote friendly nonpartisan conversations about one of the most controversial topics in our state.

 

25 years of TABOR, share your thoughts

Jan 11

All the taxes you cannot see

Colorado Capitol Dome

Seeing is believing. So, it’s no wonder many in government prefer to work in the dark.

It’s not just that they don’t want us to know what they’re fully doing. They don’t want us to know what we’re fully paying. The reason for this emotional manipulation is clear. If the cost of government is hidden into the cost of our daily lives, we feel like we’re not paying as much as we really are.

As the state legislative session gears up our governor will try to get you to feel you’re not paying a massive tax called the Hospital Provider Fee. He, in concert with everyone who wants to increase taxes in every conceivable way except actually asking voters first, will pressure the legislature, via the new senate president, to embrace this dark money ploy.

This is nothing new. Colorado is chalk full of schemes to turn your tax money dark.

One of the biggest emotional manipulations is employee withholdings. Why in the world is it our employer’s job to collect our taxes? Imagine how you’d feel about your money going to government if you had to write out a check every month along with your other bills. And you think you gripe about your cable bill?

To read the rest of this story, click (HERE):

 

Jan 01

Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights, Initiative 1 (1992)

The Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), also known as Initiative 1, was on the November 3, 1992 ballot in Colorado as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The famed measure, thought up by Douglas Bruce, requires statewide voter approval of tax increases that exceed an index created by combining inflation and population increases.

 

 

 

 

 

Text of measure

See also: Colorado State Constitution, Article X

The language appeared on the ballot as:[2]

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution to require voter approval for certain state and local government tax revenue increases and debt; to restrict property, income, and other taxes; to limit the rate of increase in state and local government spending; to allow additional initiative and referendum elections; and to provide for the mailing of information to registered voters?

Aftermath

Kerr v. Hickenlooper

See also: Kerr v. Hickenlooper

A lawsuit regarding Initiative 1 will likely have far reaching effects for other TABOR laws around the country and direct democracy, in general. A lawsuit was filed with U.S. District Court in Denver, with plaintiffs arguing that the amendment is unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed during the week of May 27, 2011, by 34 bipartisan plaintiffs, according to reports.

According to Doug Bruce, author of the citizen initiative, if the lawsuit is successful in its efforts, it could allow lawmakers unlimited power, and could be extremely detrimental to citizen initiative efforts in the state of Colorado. Bruce stated: “This isn’t only attacking Colorado. The consequences of a ruling in their favor would invalidate the Constitution in all 50 states, and would also mean no limits on the federal government. We would have anarchy.”

However, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, David Skaggs, stated that the measure limits state legislators and conflicts with both the state and United States constitutions. Skaggs also argues that other initiatives have been overturned, but that it did not negatively affect the process. Skaggs commented: “Courts won’t reach beyond the narrow question presented. Yes, we got to this issue by initiative”, but the lawsuit targets TABOR and not citizens’ initiatives.

The case’s impact expanded significantly due to the consideration of a Guarantee Clause argument. In 2012, Colorado District Court Judge William J. Martínez ruled in favor of allowing the case to proceed. However, Martínez’s ruling noted the history of seeing the Guarantee Clause as not justiciable or capable of judicial resolution, and said, “the Court determines that it cannot summarily conclude that Plaintiffs’ Guarantee Clause claim is per se non-justiciable”

The defense appealed the decision to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. In March 2014, the court ruled that the case was justiciable. The court further denied a petition for rehearing en banc in July 2014. Some consider the case likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

https://ballotpedia.org/Colorado_Taxpayer_Bill_of_Rights,_Initiative_1_(1992)

Dec 31

Legislative Session Kickoff and Award Recognition

CUT Membership Event
Legislative Session Kickoff  and Award Recognition

Award Winners:  Senate Champion Vicki Marble
House Champions Janak Joshi and Lori Saine
Senate Guardian Jerry Sonnenberg
House Guardian Stephen Humphrey

Guest Speakers: Senate President Kevin Grantham, House Assistant Minority Leader  Cole Wist

Where: Independence Institute Freedom Embassy
727 16th Ave. Denver,  CO (Free Parking) 

When: Thursday, January 19, 2017 Registration: 7:00am 

Cost is $15.00.  $5.00for those paying 2017  CUT membership

Breakfast treats by Chick-fil-A

RSVP: 303-747-2159 or rsvp@coloradotaxpayer.org

 

PO Box 1976, Lyons CO 80540  Taxpayer Hotline 303-494-2400

Web Site: www.coloradotaxpayer.org

Dec 31

Should city ask voters’ permission to keep refund? Murray says “no.”

POSTED BY ON THU, DEC 29, 2016 AT 1:00 PM

Councilor Bill Murray is raising a lot of questions. - FILE PHOTO

  • FILE PHOTO
  • Councilor Bill Murray is raising a lot of questions.

Next month, Mayor John Suthers plans to ask City Council to place a measure on the April 4 city election ballot seeking voter approval to let the city keep excess revenue.

Suthers says he wants the roughly $7 million collected in 2016 above caps imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to be spent on flood control. The measure would also ask voter approval to allow the city to keep excess revenue collected in 2017 for the same purpose. That estimated dollar figure hasn’t been disclosed publicly.

Seems like a no-brainer, given the city’s enormous backlog of stormwater projects, but at least one city councilor isn’t capitulating automatically.

Continue reading

Dec 31

EDITORIAL: Negative Impacts, Part Three

Read Part One

If a person wants to build a single-family home within the Pagosa Springs town limits, he or she must pay $3,342 in Town “impact fees.” That money is purportedly earmarked for the “impacts” that the new residents — who will occupy this new house — will have on roads, recreation facilities, public buildings, parks, trails, emergency services and schools.  (Assuming that the people who will occupy this new house haven’t already lived in Pagosa for maybe 25 years.)

The justification typically offered for such fees, is: “growth must pay for growth.”

We are working, here, under the assumption that there is a difference between a “tax” and a “fee.” The Colorado Constitution specifically requires voter approval for tax increases, and for the creation of a new tax — but no such voter approval is required for fee increases, or for the creation of a new fee.

Obviously, the difference is of some significance, here in Colorado.

A recent Colorado lawsuit can help us understand how one particular panel of judges defined the difference between a “tax” and a “fee.”

In 2009, during a particularly difficult period in the financial life of the Colorado state government, the state legislature created a new government agency called the Colorado Bridge Enterprise (CBE). The agency began charging a new “fee” as part of your vehicle registration fee; the money was (purportedly) to be used for repairing state-maintained bridges. The state did not seek voter approval for the new surcharge.

In 2012, the TABOR Foundation filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that the “fee” was in fact a “tax” — and was thus prohibited by the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) unless approved by the state’s voters. During the deliberations, the Colorado Court of Appeals disagreed with one of the TABOR Foundation’s arguments: that the surcharge is a “tax” because it is collected without regard to any services used by the vehicles for which the charge is imposed.

The court laid out three factors that it weighed in determining whether a surcharge is a tax or a fee:

Continue reading