Jun 15

Update on lawsuit against RTD tax

TABOR Friends and Supporters,

Here is an update regarding the lawsuit the TABOR Foundation filed to stop the new taxes RTD imposed without voter approval.  The last we reported was that Judge Bruce Jones ruled against us, saying in essence that the legislature can change the taxes for RTD as long as an implausibly broad definition of existing taxes is met.

The legal firm representing us (for free!) is Mountain States Legal Foundation.  The attorney reviewed the Ruling and let us know that his organization would be willing to appeal on our behalf.  In March, your Board of Directors voted to authorize the TABOR Foundation to follow through with Mountain States as far as we can in order to win.  The attorney, Jeffrey McCoy, timely filed a Notice of Appeal.  That’s where the case rests now. Continue reading

Jun 14

800 YEARS STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

800 YEARS STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Eight hundred years ago on 15 June 1215, the English people compelled King John to endorse the Great Charter – Magna Carta.  The Great Charter confirmed the ancient rights of “all the community.”  So what?  Magna Carta is the foundation of America’s Constitution, our defense against tyranny, corruption and civil decay.

English people rebelled against King John’s lawless, inept, profligate and despotic government.  For years they had struggled to restrain John’s abuses, reminding him of the solemn contract to which he had sworn at his coronation.

Magna Carta enumerated specific rights so that henceforth neither a ruler nor his officials could legally sidestep their obligations.  Magna Carta stipulated that they were, like all the people, subject to the law.  No one is above the law.  That was the fundamental point of the Great Charter.

Magna Carta was Europe’s first written constitution, a thorough reform grounded in the ancient understanding that the people ruled through their chosen leader, who retained office only to the extent that he fulfilled his sworn duties and honored the law.  It is the foundation of individual freedom and our bulwark against arbitrary despotism.

History is our story.  History reveals people’s recurring efforts toward a balance of leadership’s role and individual liberty.  Freedom requires constant, courageous vigilance.  Freedom requires each individual’s active commitment, again and again.

Today, nurtured in our culture of individual liberty, we may not recognize that it is rooted in centuries of courageous striving and thus merits our continued reverence.

So, please celebrate freedom on 15 June.

 

Peg Brady

TABOR Committee and TABOR Foundation Board member

Jun 12

Guest Commentary: Freedom’s 800th birthday

 

By Douglas Bruce
 Douglas Bruce, the author of the Taxpayer s Bill of Rights, in 2012 filed an objection to Amendment 64. (Denver Post file)
Douglas Bruce, the author of the Taxpayer s Bill of Rights, in 2012 filed an objection to Amendment 64. (Denver Post file)

 

Tradition accepts June 15, 1215, as the start of limited government in Anglo-American law. Magna Carta (“the great charter’) was signed under duress by King John. John was the brother and successor to Richard the Lion Heart, whose loyal subjects included that tax rebel, Robin Hood. King John was known for his predatory and avaricious taxation.

Monarchs proclaimed the divine right of kings, asserting their absolute power came directly from God. English barons rejected King John’s tax tyrannies and other autocratic acts. Magna Carta ordained that even a king must honor the law. He could no longer summarily jail or execute any one without due process of law. Taxes would be limited; some would require baronial consent. A council of 25 barons could restrain the king’s illegal actions by seizing his lands and castles until he obeyed the law.

Magna Carta has a turbulent legacy. Over later centuries, it was rejected, affirmed, and revised. It has survived to be idealized as the first formal adoption of the Rule of Law.

To read the rest of this article, click the following link:

 

http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_28296295/guest-commentary-freedoms-800th-birthday

 

Jun 06

You vote: What should Colorado do with pot taxes?

DENVER—For the third time since 2012, Colorado voters will decide a ballot question on the sales of recreational marijuana.

This year, voters will be asked to prevent a refund of the first year’s marijuana taxes that has been triggered by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) in the state constitution.

VOTE in the 9NEWS Morning poll: Colorado voters will decide in November if the State will keep an estimated $58 million in marijuana revenue. Should the state, keep it or return it? Vote below or click here:

Even though the expected $58 million raised by taxing pot in the first fiscal year of sales is roughly $10 million lower than predicted, TABOR requires a refund of the tax because state economists underestimated the overall size of today’s state budget back in 2013.

This requirement of TABOR only applies to newly-enacted taxes and also will require the state to switch the tax off one time only, resulting in a tax holiday on the special sales tax for pot this September.

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) signed HB 1367 on Thursday, which will create a 2015 ballot question asking voters to block a marijuana tax refund. Continue reading

May 28

ColoradoCare is a $25 billion trojan horse

“A new health care tax? Aguilar needs to give it a rest. She’s been pushing this unpopular idea for years. Coloradans need to know who is supporting this trojan horse proposal. The worst of the proposal is that it would exempt future revenues from this new tax from TABOR. A board would then be able to crank up taxes on Coloradans at their own whim.” – Jonathan Lockwood, executive director of Advancing Colorado.

While Initiative 20 proponents and the ColoradoCareYES campaign are ramping up their campaign to foist a trojan horse tax hike on Coloradans, supporter state Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, has been rather quiet. 


Aguilar killed her own universal health care bill during the 2013 legislative session because it was so unpopular. That bill was charged as being a “$16 billion dollar tax increase,” while still large pales in comparison to the newer $25 billion price tag that’s been estimated this year.

“A new health care tax? Aguilar needs to give it a rest. She’s been pushing this unpopular idea for years. Coloradans need to know who is supporting this trojan horse proposal. The worst of the proposal is that it would exempt future revenues from this new tax from TABOR. A board would then be able to crank up taxes on Coloradans at their own whim.” – Jonathan Lockwood, executive director of Advancing Colorado.

Analysts have debated in the past about the ability to truly figure out cost projections. According to CBS-4, Aguilar’s universal health care plan was so unprecedented and sweeping that cost projections weren’t available. Continue reading

May 26

Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Should Not Be Breached

A serious effort is underway in Colorado to bypass the effective tax and spending controls imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) and permanently increase the size of the state gov­ernment. TABOR limits how fast state tax revenues can grow by requiring that the state refund taxes collected over the limit to the taxpayers. Therefore, TABOR also, in effect, limits spending. This has kept the burden of state government low and has led to a stronger state economy.

But TABOR is under attack. Elected officials have placed Referendum C on the ballot for this fall, asking Colorado citizens to let the legislature keep (and spend) $3 billion in surplus taxes over TABOR limits instead of refunding those revenues to the taxpayers. As voters ponder this referendum, it is helpful to examine why TABOR was necessary and why it should be retained.

TABOR’s Background

Colorado voters passed TABOR in 1992 to end the undisciplined spending and tax increases of the 1980s, which increased the effective state income tax rate by 15 percent and the gasoline tax by 214 per­cent.[1] Chart 1 shows how effective TABOR has been in controlling spending. Before TABOR, state spend­ing increased dramatically in relation to taxpayers’ ability to pay, even briefly surpassing the national average. After TABOR, the burden of government declined and Colorado’s competitiveness with the rest of the nation improved.

One of the fundamental reasons to enact revenue and spending limits is to protect tax­payers from constantly rising demands on their pocketbooks. This in turn fosters a better environment for economic growth. Govern­ment can still grow, but at a slow and predict­able rate. Elected officials must then make honest, conscious decisions about where to direct resources across all state programs.

This means putting an end to the mental­ity of spending freely in the good years and raising taxes to cover those expenditures in the bad years-something that is as vital from a personal perspective for families try­ing to provide for their needs as it is from an economic perspective. TABOR has served that purpose well, effectively protecting both Colorado families and the state econ­omy from the ill effects of increasing taxes and government spending.

Why Taxes and Government Spending Are Counterproductive

High taxes harm economic performance. Continue reading

May 23

Ballot measures impact bill signed into law

Ballot measures impact bill signed into law

The Colorado Statesman

A new law will allow Colorado voters to know the fiscal impact of a ballot measure before petitions are circulated — a heavily debated effort that seemed doomed in the final hours of the recent legislative session.

The state had already been required to provide voters with cost-impact estimates of ballot measures, prior to an election. But House Bill 1057, which was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday, accelerates that process so that voters will know a proposal’s cost before they are asked to sign a petition.

In addition to fiscal impact estimates appearing in voter Blue Book election guides, the new law requires that estimates of a measure’s impact on government revenues, spending, taxes and fiscal liabilities be summarized on initiative petitions.
“Shouldn’t we know what the fiscal impact is going to be if we are going to propose putting something into the Constitution?” said Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, a bill sponsor.

Court said that fiscal notes are attached to bills before being considered by lawmakers and that the public should be afforded that same information. The Colorado Legislative Council makes those calculations for lawmakers and is also responsible for preparing fiscal impact statements for ballot initiatives.

Continue reading

May 13

Gov. Hickenlooper still pushing plan that could reduce TABOR refunds

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks to members of the media during a news conference inside his office at the state Capitol, in Denver, Thursday, May 7, 2015.

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Just weeks before the Colorado Legislature wrapped up its 2015 session, Gov. John Hickenlooper introduced a proposal that, in a few years, would result in the state having more money to put towards transportation and education, but reduce refunds to taxpayers. Though the proposal failed, Hickenlooper said he’ll continue to push it in coming months.The governor had proposed reclassifying a fee paid by hospitals so that it does not count against the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, limit. TABOR dictates that if the state collects more than a certain amount of tax revenue, it must return excess revenue to citizens. Hickenlooper said other fees don’t count against that limit, and the hospital fee shouldn’t either.

The proposal didn’t get any Republican support in the session that ended last Thursday, in part because lawmakers said they didn’t want to take any TABOR refund money back from taxpayers.

Hickenlooper said he took the idea public after months of working behind the scenes to build momentum for it.

“We got to the point where it didn’t seem likely that we were going to achieve a compromise, so we wanted to let the public have a debate, because there are two sides to the argument,” the governor added.

He said he still believes a compromise is possible, and said he will work on that for next year’s legislative session.

Along with the governor’s tax proposal, in his regular conversation with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner, Hickenlooper said he’s “leaning towards a veto” of two bills that could ban red light cameras and photo speeding enforcement. He also talked about his support for ending a ban on crude oil exports and reflected on Denver’s 10-year plan to end homelessness, which started under his leadership a decade ago.

 

– See more at: https://www.cpr.org/news/story/gov-hickenlooper-still-pushing-plan-could-reduce-tabor-refunds#sthash.thHjnooQ.dpuf