Oct 13

Don’t give Legislature a blank check


In your upcoming mail ballot you will be asked to give the state of Colorado a blank check. Don’t be tricked into believing the initial language “without raising taxes…”

Proposition CC is a tax increase forever. Colorado taxpayers will no longer receive (forever) any of their tax rebates (refunds) of their hard earned money if Proposition CC passes.

Colorado Legislature has tricked us in the past by saying requested tax increases would fund roads, bridges, education, teacher pay, and on and on, but when our taxpayer money was spent, the Legislature decided to divert it elsewhere due to lobby and special interest groups pressure. The Legislature has consistently broken promises to Colorado voters. Recently, Colorado voters rejected 13 ballot measures at the state level by a wide margin. Because Colorado voters defeated the Colorado Legislature’s request for more funds, the Legislature now proposes to “trick” Colorado voters again.

This Proposition will “gut” the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (also known as TABOR). The Taxpayer Bill of Rights requires voter approval for any increase in taxes or debt. This is our Taxpayer Bill of Rights, not the Legislature’s, do not vote to give it away forever.

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights has been the only way voters have kept Colorado from spending taxpayer funds to the maximum, as done in California.

Proposition CC will forever remove Colorado seniors and veterans property tax exemptions. This will put seniors and veterans at risk, and place more pressure on local budgets.

Colorado communities have individually voted property tax increases to fund local schools and other services such as fire departments (we can locally determine if funds are being spent as represented), and if Proposition CC passes, those seniors and veterans on fixed incomes will have a difficulty paying local property tax bills.

Colorado has a top ranked economy. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights has contributed to Colorado’s success. Colorado has one of the lowest tax rates in the country providing a positive location for business investment and jobs.

If our Taxpayer Bill of Rights is repealed, over $1.7 billion collected over the next 3 years will not be refunded to Colorado taxpayers.

The Legislature already has a $32.5 billion budget… enough is enough! This budget automatically increases with population and inflation. The Legislature has enough of our money.

The Legislature must be held to account and budget just as we do with our personal budgets.

Mary Ann Smith

Pagosa Springs


Oct 13

Proposition CC explained: What it means to end the spending caps in TABOR and the money at stake

Proposition CC explained: What it means to end the spending caps in TABOR and the money at stake

The debate for Prop. CC involves whether to keep TABOR refunds, or send the tax dollars to three key areas: education, colleges and transportation.


Oct 13

Colorado Voter Guide 2019: What you need to know about propositions CC

Colorado Voter Guide 2019: What you need to know about propositions CC and DD before you vote

Voters will make decisions in November about two questions involving taxes that the Democratic-led state legislature put on the ballot

Continue reading

Oct 11

Update on anti-TABOR lawsuit

The federal lawsuit to repeal TABOR through the courts took an expected step recently.  The team bringing the lawsuit has been arguing that TABOR restricts legislators’ ability to act.  The lawsuit is now known as “Kerr vs. Polis”.  The first question, which our  side thought was settled by the US Supreme Court’s ruling on a similar Arizona case, is whether the lawsuit can be brought by the plaintiffs – that is, do those entities have “standing”?  The most recent argument, available at this link https://www.scribd.com/document/429794251/19-09-30-Appellants-Response-to-Governors-Pt-for-Rehearing-en-Banc is the plaintiffs’ written argument that the 10th Circuit should drop the issue of standing and allow the case to proceed directly.

A three-judge panel found that the amended list of plaintiffs could bring the lawsuit and therefore it could proceed on the merits.  The defenders of TABOR believe that this was an errant ruling and the dissenting justice was very direct, saying that the plaintiffs’ argument “…. is so meager as to constitute waiver. Moreover, their argument—insofar as I am able to piece it together—also fails on the merits.”  We hope that the entire 10th Circuit Court of Appeals will agree to hear the appeal again (“en banc”).  The Court of Appeals can be expected to accept or decline the Motion reasonably soon, according to a Colorado attorney familiar with the case.  The TABOR Foundation has been monitoring this situation in conjunction with the National Federation of Independent Business, with whom we partnered in previous amicus filings.


Oct 08

More out of state money rolls in to support Proposition CC; over $350K from NYC-based group


DENVER — A New York City-based organization has doubled down on getting involved in Colorado’s election this year.

More specifically, Education Reform Now Advocacy (ERNA), which initially sent the “Coloradans for Prosperity aka Yes on Prop CC” campaign committee $100,000 to push a ballot effort to permanently eliminate tax refunds under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), sent another $352,000 to the campaign, according to a Major Contributors Report filed by Yes on CC Monday.

According to the ERNA website, it believes that “every child should receive an adequate and equitable allocation of resources no matter their race, socioeconomic status, or zip code nor whether they are enrolled in a traditional district-run public school or public charter school.”

Dan Ritchie, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Denver told a crowd of mostly Democrat law makers, teachers and students who officially kicked off the campaign last week, that they needed to beware of money from outside of Colorado being spent from the opposition, referring to Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a Washington D.C.-based organization.

According to AFPs website, it advances “policies that will help people improve their lives.” AFP Colorado recently spent nearly $500,000 on a media campaign to oppose Prop CC.

Although both AFP and ERNA have Colorado offices, the difference in the two organizations is their direct ties to the official yes and no on CC groups.

AFP is an independent group making its own decisions on how to target the No on CC message. ERNA is donating directly to the Yes on CC campaign, which will determine how to spend the money.

The additional revenue puts the Yes on CC campaign at slightly more than $2 million in donations, while No on CC has reported only $17,000 in total contributions.

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

Oct 08

How Colorado officials manipulate ballot language to get what they want: The case of JeffCo Issue 1A

How Colorado officials manipulate ballot language to get what they want: The case of JeffCo Issue 1A

Some people bemoan the lack of trust in government officials. Those people should read more. They could start by learning how many of Colorado’s officials ruthlessly manipulate ballot language to mislead voters and skew election results.

Jefferson County’s Ballot Issue 1A—up for a vote next month—is a case in point.

Issue 1A is a referendum under the Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). TABOR requires officials to ask voter permission, via referendum, for several kinds of fiscal decisions. The most important are (1) raising taxes, (2) creating debt, and (3) waiving caps on government spending (which TABOR sometimes confusingly calls “revenue”).

Knowing that government officials sometimes try to manipulate elections, the TABOR drafters inserted rules governing how tax and debt issues appear on the ballot. But they omitted similar rules for elections to waive spending caps.

The reasons for the omission are not clear. Perhaps it was an oversight. Or perhaps the drafters thought rules were unnecessary, because waivers were to last a maximum of four years. If a waiver was abused, the abuse would soon be over and voters could hold the guilty officials accountable.

But in 2002, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued a case seriously misinterpreting TABOR. The court ruled that once the voters in a particular locale approve a spending cap waiver, the waiver does not necessarily expire. The waiver may specify five years, or seven, or ten. If it does not contain an ending date, the waiver lasts forever. TABOR spending caps never apply in that locale again.

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

Oct 08

“Better government for you: Not hiding elections!”

“Better government for you:  Not hiding elections!”

October 7, 2019

There is much to like in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), and it’s good to remember that it includes good government provisions that improve election procedures.

None of us want to put up with elected officials holding a surprise election for voter approval of a government’s action.  Yet, there were times in the past in which the public was not adequately informed about an election.  The elected officials would list it in a newspaper’s Public Notices section, and of course had to put the ballot measure into the government’s official record.  But that was insufficient to let voters know what was going on, and by doing the minimum possible to notify voters, some governments were able to keep the elections low profile.  The intent of suppressing turnout was so that only those people heavily invested in passage would participate.  The normal citizen, the rank-and-file taxpayer, might miss a special election, allowing others to vote in, say, a new debt issue or increase a tax rate.

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights corrected that situation.  The constitutional measure pertains to all governments in Colorado, even small special districts that don’t command much attention.

When bringing an issue before the voters, TABOR requires that “At least 30 days before a ballot issue election, districts shall mail …. a titled notice ….. addressed to ‘All Registered Voters’ at each address of one or more active registered electors.   …. Titles shall have this order of preference ‘NOTICE OF ELECTION TO INCREASE TAXES (or) TO INCREASE DEBT….

The paragraph contains even more specifics, as it was carefully crafted to prevent elected officers from circumventing it.  This important constitutional provision improves the operations of all governments in our state and protects the taxpayer in ways beyond just voting on tax rates.