TABOR plans for years of taxpayer refunds
Under the 1992 voter-approved constitutional amendment known as the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, state and local governments are limited on how much they can grow their budgets.
Under the amendment, those year-over-year budget growths are based on a complicated formula subject to population growth and inflation.
Tax revenues that exceed that cap must be refunded to taxpayers, and that’s done depending on just how much revenue has exceeded the limit.
State economists say revenues from last year’s fiscal year, which ended June 30, resulted in a surplus of about $153.6 million. That means taxpayers will see a refund when they file their income tax returns next year, which is expected to average between $15 and $20 for individual filers.
Projections for the next two fiscal years are expected to be even higher: $252.5 million for the current fiscal year, which would be refunded with 2017 tax returns, and $352 million for the year after that.
If the hospital provider fee idea is approved during the next legislative session, which begins in January, it would eliminate the 2017 and 2018 refunds, but not the one planned for next year.
The fee, which is used to fund expanded Medicaid coverage, is collected from hospitals. But because it is counted as revenue for the state, it puts the state in a situation where the TABOR revenue cap is exceeded, triggering a mandatory refund. And that has the effect of cutting into funding for other state services, such as transportation and education.
Source: Colorado Legislative Council