(The Center Square) – Supporters of an effort to implement a progressive state income tax system called it quits on Friday.
The Fair Tax Colorado campaign said it didn’t collect enough signatures to qualify Initiative 271 for the ballot in November, citing a petition process complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The campaign is ending today, but our ballot work will continue,” said the Colorado Fiscal Institute, one of the measure’s backers. “That’s because citizen initiatives are where tax policy is made in Colorado, and we need to keep Coloradans engaged on these critical issues.”
The measure proposed amending the state constitution and adjusting the state’s current 4.63 percent flat income tax rate according to income. Under the measure, taxpayers making $250,000 or less annually would have been taxed at 4.58 percent; those making $250,000 to $500,000 would have taxed at 7 percent.
Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, turned in 197,000 signatures for Initiative 306, which would cut the state income tax rate by 0.08 percent, from 4.63 percent to 4.55 percent.
The Denver-based free-market think tank says the measure is meant to help get “Colorado’s economy back to its former strength, by putting money back into the pockets of those who earned it.”
Voting at a time when voting makes sense!
The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) includes good government provisions that improve election procedures.
We know that voter turnout is highest for those people who will benefit most directly by the ballot measure. One way to suppress voter participation is to hold an election at an unusual time or at an unexpected, inconvenient, or difficult time.
Before the Taxpayer‘s Bill of Rights, Colorado elected officials could schedule a special election for a new tax or for a debt measure. Held in, say, February, the government could hope weather to be really foul, so that even the average taxpayer who thought to vote on the measure might think twice, while those proponents who would benefit from the new tax would be in the majority for whom it was worth the effort to slog to the polls.
The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights ended that incivility to the citizen. With TABOR, a vote must happen on the November general election ballot, or if there is a standard election in the spring, (common for many town and city elections) the measure can appear on that municipal ballot. The only other time a TABOR measure may go before the voters is in odd-numbered years at about the time in November that a general election would take place.
Colorado constitution (Article X, Section 20) paragraph 3(a) states: “Ballot issues shall be decided in a state general election, biennial local district election, or on the first Tuesday in November of odd-numbered years.”
The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights greatly improved government operations beyond providing the taxpayer the power to vote on tax increases.
THREE PUNCHES TO KNOCK DOWN DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM
@ Waters Edge Winery
Helen Raleigh and Dr. Paul Prentice will discuss the battle of ideas between Capitalism and Socialism. Join us for this very important conversation.
Tickets are $20 per person, plus a $3 processing fee per ticket.
As the Democratic Socialists become more prominent, both nationally and at our dinner tables, it is very likely you will find yourself debating one. This battle of ideas, Capitalism vs Socialism, is at the very core of the current political discourse. Whichever side wins this battle will determine the fate of the American Experiment. Will we remain a free society, or will we succumb to the siren call of false security provided by government?
On June 15, the Colorado State Legislature sent two measures to the November 2020 ballot.
One measure would amend the state constitution to require charitable organizations to have existed for three years before obtaining a charitable gaming license instead of the current constitutional requirement of five years. The amendment would allow charitable organizations to hire managers and operators of gaming activities so long as they are not paid more than the minimum wage. Currently, the constitution requires those who operate charitable gaming activities to be a member of the organization working as an unpaid volunteer.
The other measure would increase cigarette taxes and create a new tax on nicotine products such as e-cigarettes. It would dedicate revenues to various health and education programs. The measure requires voter approval under TABOR since it would increase state revenue.
TABOR is an amendment to the state Constitution requiring, among other things, that new or increased taxes be approved by voters.
The executive director of Colorado Rising State Action, Michael Fields, said Initiative 295, which would go into state statute, is more important now than ever as the state grapples with $3.3 billion in budget cuts and looks to find new sources of revenues.
Senate Bill 20-215 is “a perfect example of them trying to go around TABOR to raise revenue by calling them fees,” Fields said. “Clearly, this is the move they are going to make, raising taxes by calling them fees.”
To quote the Pueblo West district manager as printed in the June 4, 2020 article headed “So Where Do Your Tax Dollars Go?” In sub heading No. 4, the spin starts as “We are continuing to provide the same services as when Pueblo West originated and that is without a mill levy increase since 1971, which doesn’t allow for the cost of inflation of goods and services since 1971.
My “old daddy” once told me, figures don’t lie, but liars can figure. The two points the quote does not explain is that first property taxes have gone up. As the Pueblo County assessor reassess the value of a home the same mill levy generates a higher tax bill. Ask anyone if their property tax bill has gone up in the last two years. Property values tend to track with inflation.
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) was made into law to restrain local government from expanding without taxpayer approval.
Never has one simple fact been so clear. Businesses fund everything. When shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19, the state government went from a nearly $1 billion revenue surplus to a $3 billion shortfall. Shuttered businesses don’t collect sales taxes, and their out-of-work employees don’t pay state income taxes.
Given the sorry state of our economy and state budget, business recovery should be the Legislature’s top priority. To help them recover and survive, lawmakers should reduce the burden of overhead. Give these struggling patients oxygen and support; bill them for it later.
Instead of helping businesses recover and survive, legislators want more money from them immediately. Toward that self-destructive end, Democrats introduced House Bill 1420 on Monday and passed it out of committee Tuesday with the session ending this week.
TABOR Emergency Taxes at the State level
Emergency taxes are a contingency written into the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. In response to the decline in revenues due to the pandemic economic shutdown, activists on the Left are urging new and higher taxes using the emergency taxes clause. Unfortunately, the General Assembly has put itself into an impossible situation that will prevent the imposition of any State emergency taxes. Legislators’ dishonest dealings in good times removes this option today. Continue reading