Dec 06

Diverging from Hickenlooper, Democrats consider not supporting tax refund

 Gov. John Hickenlooper issued an election-eve budget plan that supported taxpayer refunds next year, but his Democratic colleagues in the legislature are openly considering a move to spend the money.

The talk comes as the Joint Budget Committee continues preliminary meetings to craft the state budget and raises the specter of an intraparty showdown on one of the top legislative issues in the upcoming 2015 session.

Under the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, Colorado must return any tax collections in excess of its constitutional revenue cap, which is set by the rate of inflation plus population growth. Right now, the state forecasts a potential $130 million refund.

In a recent interview, noted in a story looking at Hickenlooper’s second term, incoming House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst made the most direct suggestion that Democrats may support a ballot measure in 2015 to ask voters to keep the money for state spending instead of issuing a refund

TABOR picture“If we don’t do anything as a state, we are going to be spending almost as much money as we refund, refunding money to people, which doesn’t seem to make a lot of common sense to me,” the Boulder Democrat said. “The people would be far better off if we invested that in infrastructure, education — something that really benefited them rather than (them) getting their 50 bucks to spend on a tank of gas or something.”

Hullinghorst didn’t elaborate, but the cost for refunding TABOR is typically negligible because it’s done through tax filings.

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Nov 27

California’s experience makes economic, political benefits of Colorado’s TABOR clear

Rapid growth in the Colorado economy will increase state revenue in excess of the TABOR limit. Colorado’s TABOR constitutional amendment limits the growth of state revenue to the sum of population growth plus inflation; surplus revenue above that limit must be refunded to taxpayers.

Legislative analysts estimate $137 million in TABOR refunds for the next fiscal year. In the following year the state must offset surplus revenue with a temporary income tax rate reduction estimated at $234 million. Given the range of error in these estimates, the average Colorado household should expect to get somewhere between $50 and $100 per year in TABOR refunds.

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Nov 22

Kerr vs. Hickenlooper motion asking the Supreme Court to take up the appeal

Friends of TABOR,
Please recall that the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the “Fenster” lawsuit (“Kerr vs. Hickenlooper”) to declare TABOR unconstitutional under the US Constitution could move to the trial phase.  Attorney General John Suthers asked the US Supreme Court to review that case, arguing that such an issue is NOT for the courts to decide, but instead is a political issue.
 
Your TABOR Foundation (sister organization to the TABOR Committee) joined the national office of NFIB to file a friend-of-the-court brief (an amicus)  on the motion asking the Supreme Court to take up the appeal.  The arguments presented in this brief just nail the issue, and I am proud to be associated with this effort – I want to stop people in the street and show them what a great read this is (scroll down to page 17 to start).
 
If you have questions about the process or the content of what we are trying to accomplish, please know that you may contact me by email or by phone.
 
Penn Pfiffner
Chairman

Amicus for Petition US Supreme Ct

Nov 18

Avon – Patriots Petition for a Vote of the Citizens

What can you do when…

Local Government STOPS listing to the Citizens they allegedly represent?

When Local Government tries to take on Millions more in long term Debt – spanning (2) decades to pay it all back?

(Photo – L-R, Avon Clerk Debbie Hoppe, Avon Police Chief – Robert Ticer, Dave Strandjord (Veteran, USMC)

Debbie-Hoppe-Avon-Police-Chief-Robert-Ticer-Dave-Stranjord

When Local Government plans to “pay off decades of Debt” by using the 2% (RETT – Real Estate Transfer Tax) – levied against all real Property in Avon?

The answer is…Avon Patriot Citizens “Petition their Local Government” – (and with a sufficient number of Avon Voters, signatures…you can legally force a “special election” either/or their Town Council can Repeal their Ordinance that authorized Millions more in Debt.  Dave Strandjord shown here returning 233 Avon Signatures – to be verified by Avon Clerk Debbie Hoppe.

This week (17-21NOV2014) Avon Voters should know the results of this Petition Drive.

Stand by.  More News from the ECT shortly.

http://eaglecountytimes.com/2014/11/17/avon-patriots-petition-for-a-vote-of-the-citizens/

Nov 18

Citizens Referendum – Stops Avon! (for now)

News from Eagle County, Colorado

Dateline:  Tuesday, November 18th 2013 –  Avon’s Grass Roots Citizens ‘Petition for Referendum’ has (for now) stopped the out going Avon Council from taking on millions more in long term DEBT!Their plan was to pay for this Millions in proposed/new DEBT by using the 2% (RETT – Real Estate Transfer Tax) that is attached to all REAL PROPERTY  in the Town of Avon.What next?

Answer:  Avon’s new Council (to be sworn in tonite) – has only (2) legal options they can exercise – now that Avon’s Clerk and Record (Debbie Hoffe) has issued her legal “Certificate of Sufficiency” (based on the Citizens signature Petition) stopping the Avon Council’s plan.

Option 1:  Repeal (read kill) the Avon Ordinance that was used to authorized the new DEBT.

Option 2:  Hold a “special election” and let registered Avon voters make the final decision.

The Nuclear Option?  Yes, there is one other legal possibility that (Avon Finance Manger – Scott Wright – does not support)…the “possibility” that Avon Council could vote to take $3.5 Million (out of Avon’s General Fund) and buy the “Building for Avon Bureaucrats” (also known as the Skier Building) for cash.   The ECT folks agree with Mr. Wright that would be a very bad decision.

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Nov 13

Will Colorado Taxpayers Actually Receive a Marijuana Refund?

Source: http://www.fcgov.com/

In case you haven’t heard already, Colorado has been making a killing off of legal marijuana. The substance — which we’ve come to know by many names like reefer, pot, bud, herb, and gonja just to name a few — has brought in millions for the Rocky Mountain state. Colorado’s marijuana tax revenue data was just released for the month of September.

Looking at this tax data, it appears as though the trend-setting state didn’t sell as much retail marijuana as it did during the month prior. But, in spite of the sales slowdown, the state is still earning enough cash from marijuana to have its citizens profit. Under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), Colorado citizens may even receive a ‘refund’ because marijuana revenues were higher than anticipated.

September’s taxes and revenue

During September, Colorado brought in $2.94 million from sales taxes on recreational marijuana alone. Considering a 10% tax rate, this means sales during the month of September were just under $30 million, which is a cool $3 million less than during the month of August when the state brought in $3.31 million in recreational marijuana sales tax revenue.

On top of this cash, Colorado is still earning huge tax dollars from medical marijuana sales taxes (at 2.9%) which have brought the state over $900,000 during the month of September alone. It also earns money from the additional 2.9% tax it imposes on retail pot, and the 15% excise tax that’s imposed on suppliers, manufacturers, etc.

What is TABOR and is it unique to Colorado?

The TABOR is designed to be a kind of like a system of checks and balances. In Colorado, the TABOR limits the amount of revenue growth to the sum of the state’s population growth plus any increase in the rate of inflation. This means that if the population were to grow by 2% and inflation were to grow by 2%, available state revenue can increase by no more than 4%, unless voters approve an increase.

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According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, “Under TABOR, state and local governments cannot raise tax rates without voter approval and cannot spend revenues collected under existing tax rates if revenues grow faster than the rate of inflation and population growth, without voter approval.”

Other states have brought similar TABOR legislation to the table in the past, but Colorado is the only state that actually has such a policy in action.

Nov 13

Colorado Taxpayers In Line To Receive Refund

Two tax refunds possible in Colorado. 9NEWS at 5 p.m. 11/12/14.

NVER—Colorado taxpayers could be in for a pair of refunds from the state, depending on how lawmakers decide to handle two issues caused by the state’s taxpayer bill of rights (TABOR).

That larger of the two refunds would be because of tax revenue forecast to come in $136.6 million more than the limit set by TABOR next fiscal year, which would amount to $41.80 per adult in Colorado, using population figures from the US Census Bureau.

A smaller refund is expected to be triggered in this current year’s budget, tied to legal marijuana sales.

The state may have to refund most of the marijuana taxes it collected in the first full fiscal year of legal sales or recreational pot, an estimated $30.5 million.

That refund would amount to $7.63 per adult in Colorado.

Don’t go making plans to spend your refund just yet.

Lawmakers can always ask voters to let the state keep that money.

While Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) has not publicly stated what he thinks the legislature should do about the refunds, there are signs that lawmakers may ask you to at least part with your marijuana refund.

MARIJUANA TAX

A refund on marijuana taxes would not happen because pot sales brought in more money than expected to state government.

In fact, the taxes raised less money than the state predicted.

However, because the state’s official voter guide for Proposition AA in 2013 underestimated the total overall tax collections that would be made by Colorado in 2014-15, TABOR requires the new tax to be refunded, a requirement only imposed in the first full fiscal year of a new tax.

“Because of a quirk in the TABOR amendment, we may have to refund all of the first year’s [marijuana] taxes,” said Sen. Pat Steadman, a Democrat who sits on the joint budget committee. “I’m pretty clear that that’s not what voters had in mind.”

Lawmakers do have the option of asking voters to allow the state to keep the money in excess of what TABOR allows.

While Republicans generally favor refunds in these cases, they may be inclined to make an exception this time because the voters directly approved the new taxes on pot.

“I think that was probably the intent of the voters,” said Sen. Kent Lambert, the Republican chairman of the budget committee. “I think that’s probably the way we’ll end up, probably going to the ballot, but I think that’s going to be a decision of the whole general assembly.”

TABOR LIMIT

The larger of the two refunds exposes the broader philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans about taxation and the role of government.

This refund would be triggered purely by a healing economy, not an entanglement with a new voter-enacted tax.

Most Republicans are happy to cut you your check, in keeping with the spirit of TABOR.

“This is the taxpayer’s money,” Lambert told 9NEWS. “We have some limitations on the growth of government through the taxpayer’s bill of rights that I think most people in my caucus respect.”

Conversely, most Democrats would rather ask voters to let the state keep the money.

They’d prefer to use this money to pay for improvements to highways and bridges, or beef up school funding to pre-recession levels.

“Before we start making refunds to people we ought to ask should we fix the roof on the barn in the good year instead of just giving it all away,” Steadman said.

Now that Republicans control the state Senate, they are in the stronger position. If they don’t cut a deal, the refunds will happen automatically.

Lambert floated a more ambitious idea: lower tax rates to avoid triggering the refund.

With Democrats still holding a House majority, that’s an idea that’s unlikely to be enacted, though there could be support for tax credits that could reduce the overall size of any refund.

If a refund does move forward, lawmakers do have sway over how the money is distributed to taxpayers. People at different income levels could receive different amounts.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/2014/11/12/two-tax-refunds-possible-in-colorado/18942877/