Americans who are getting a jump on their income taxes may already be looking forward to receiving (and spending) their refund checks. But for those who live in Colorado, another type of rebate may be making its way toward their bank accounts: a “reefer refund”!
According to state law, Denver may be forced to return some of the money collected in recreational marijuana taxes during the first, full year of legal sales. Residents and tourists racked up $50 million in taxation revenue for Colorado in 2012.
The state constitution contains an amendment referred to as a Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR), which was approved by voters almost a quarter-century ago. In addition to requiring all new taxes to receive the go-ahead from Colorado voters, TABOR also compels the state to issue refunds to taxpayers whenever it takes in too much money in revenues. The definition of “too much” is set by a complex formula that has been established under the law.
Since TABOR was passed, residents of the Rocky Mountain State have received these types of refunds six times, with total amounts ranging from about $40 million to over $1 billion.
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Grand Junction City Council is looking into completing the Westside Beltway project several years later, but TABOR funds are needed in order to finish the project.
The citizens of Grand Junction voted for the city to continue holding tabor override taxes to pay off the debt of Riverside Parkway early. However the city is looking to now continue the Westside Beltway project, making 22 and 25 road more traffic friendly.
It would improve 25 Road from I-70B, along F1/2 Road and 24 Road to I-70. The timing and funding of this project is one of the reasons they are now putting it on the ballot.
“If voters decide they want us to do this, we will be finishing this project at the same time the previous project would be paid off. So both projects would be paid off at the same time,” said Phyllis Norris, the Mayor of Grand Junction.
This project is an attempt to relieve some of the traffic from Patterson Road, as well as provide a easy route to the interstate from Riverside Parkway.
There are millions of taxpayers’ dollars set aside for the project, slated to start in 2017 if the measure is passed. However more funds are needed, to the tune of $12.5 million dollars, which is why the ballot measure will be asking citizens to use additional funds from TABOR.
The Supreme Court is considering a challenge to Colorado’s TABOR law
WASHINGTON — If Colorado politics were like daytime TV, then the state’s controversial TABOR law would be its longest-running soap opera.
Few issues can match the drama — and staying power — of the 1992 measure, which has survived repeated attempts to dismantle its requirement that lawmakers get permission from voters before raising taxes.
Now, though, the so-called Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is getting a shot at prime time. As soon as Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide the fate of a lawsuit against TABOR.
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The TABOR Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the Regional Transportation District and the Science and Cultural Facilities District for their violations of TABOR. The first court appearance will be on Monday, February 2 at 2:30 in courtroom 424 in the City and County Building (1437 Bannock St, Denver, 80202). It would be a great show of support to have friends of TABOR present for at least part of the proceedings. If anyone is able to attend, it would be good to know that ahead of the hearing on Monday.
(To refresh your memory, this is what the lawsuit is about)
TABOR group sues 2 special districts — RTD, SCFD — over new tax
The nonprofit TABOR Foundation is suing to stop the Regional Transportation District and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District from collecting sales tax on food, beverages, cigarettes, advertising materials and food containers.
The foundation filed a request for preliminary injunction Thursday in Jefferson County District Court, asking that the districts be blocked from collecting the tax starting Jan. 1, as allowed by a new state law.
House Bill 1272 lifted exemptions on items the districts could tax. Previously, sales of food, beverages, cigarettes, advertising materials and food containers were off limits to RTD and SCFD.
The tax is expected to net $2.7 million for RTD and $270,000 for SCFD next year, according to the complaint. Continue reading
As the Colorado 2015 Legislative Session moves into full-swing, Morgan County stakeholders will begin discussions with representatives.
Stakeholders started those discussions Monday with the first Legislative Coffee event. Representatives from area businesses, Morgan County Economic Development Corporation, Morgan Community College, Brush Chamber of Commerce, Fort Morgan Area Chamber of Commerce, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and the city of Fort Morgan attended the event Monday at Café Lotus.
The small group met with State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and State Rep. Jon Becker to discuss bills and matters at the state legislative session.
The Legislative Coffee event on Monday followed a less formal format than usual, Becker said.
“Sometimes it’s more formal where people stand up and present, but it’s still early in the session,” Becker said.
The group discussed matters regarding tax on medical marijuana, faster internet services in the eastern plains and Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Continue reading
A House Republican says he can’t understand why his bill to give more money for education was killed by Democrats even though it had the support of the teachers’ union, school boards and superintendents.
“My bill would have directed unexpected surplus revenue to our schools,” said Rep. Jon Becker of Fort Morgan. “I can’t think of a better investment than our kids’ futures.”
He pointed out there was no opposition Wednesday when he presented House Bill 1058 to the Finance Committee, where it died on a 6-5 party-line vote.
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Letter to the Editor:
Do the residents of Colorado work for the state government or does that government work for the citizen?
If the government works for the citizen, why can’t citizens decide what services they want to pay for?
TABOR is a law that limits the amount of taxes citizens are required to pay and in some cases requires the return of “surpluses” to the tax payer.
In effect, those who want to raise taxes must convince tax payers the added taxes are actually required.
Why is that bad?
Democrats in Denver want to reverse TABOR, as if it didn’t exist, and use the “surplus” for their purposes.
I think that if Democrats want to direct such “surplus” toward something other than what the law directs, they can set up a fund to allow those individuals who are so inclined to direct their “surplus” into that fund.
Thus the tax payer can determine if they get to spend or save their money instead of someone else spending it.
A note to Mike Littwin: check out Proposition 13 passed in California in 1978.
While not exactly like TABOR, Prop 13 limits raising property taxes thus protecting tax payers from unrestrained tax increases.
Steven P. Melcher
Lawsuit challenging TABOR headed to federal appeals court
By Tim Hoover
The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear an appeal of a lower federal court’s ruling that allowed a landmark challenge to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to move forward.
The ruling by the three-judge panel means the state still has a chance to derail the lawsuit, Kerr v. Hickenlooper, before it can head to trial.
The suit, filed by 33 plaintiffs who are mostly Democrats, argues that by taking away lawmakers’ ability to tax, TABOR violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee that every state have a republican form of government, or one where elected officials govern rather than the citizens themselves.
In July, U.S. District Judge William J. Martínez ruled the suit could go forward to trial, denying the state’s motion to dismiss and rejecting its argument that the issues in the case are “non-justiciable” political questions that can’t be decided by the courts. If the appeals court upholds Martínez’s ruling, the case would likely to proceed to trial.
Read more:Lawsuit challenging TABOR headed to federal appeals court – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_21942741/lawsuit-challenging-tabor-headed-federal-appeals-court#ixzz2CWgG51DS
AVON — The voters have had their say, and the Skier Building in Avon will not be purchased using “certificate of participation” bonds.
Of the 647 total ballots received in the special election, 418 came in against and 229 in favor of using the bonds according to totals issued by the town late Tuesday night.
Council members approved the idea to purchase the building for the purposes of relocating town hall there back in September, after negotiating a deal behind closed doors with Starwood, the building’s owner. The purchase price was found to be agreeable by both parties at $3.2 million.
The purchase method, however, was not found to be as agreeable to a group of voters in Avon who said it was against the spirit of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, approved by Colorado voters in 1992 in an effort to ensure public voting on large financing deals like the Skier Building. Certificate of participation bonds avoid the stipulations of TABOR by securing a large amount of money through a process of annual renewal, effectively making one 20-year loan into 20 one-year loans.
A referendum to overturn the decision to use certificate of participation bonds to purchase the building was put in place, led by Avon resident Dave Strandjord, who paid the attorney fees to ensure the language on the referendum did not contain any mistakes. Continue reading