Governor Hickenlooper unveils next year’s Colorado budget & taxpayer refunds
by Lisa Cyriacks
For the first time in many years, Colorado government finds itself in a position of having to refund tax revenue to voters. The refunds are required when state revenue exceeds the combined rate of inflation and population growth.
Taxpayer rebates totaling $167.2 million are mandated by Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), assuming current law and the accuracy of the September forecast by the Office of State Planning and Budget.
A $30.5 million rebate for new marijuana taxes is coming. Total state marijuana revenue was different than what was projected in the election blue book. (In November 2013, Colorado voters approved Proposition AA, which allowed a 10% retail sales tax and a 15% excise tax.) Because the estimated revenue subject to TABOR was underestimated, under TABOR the state must refund the money being collected or ask voters again to keep it for additional state spending.
According to Governor Hickenlooper, it will be important to engage the legislature when the session begins on the issue of marijuana sales tax revenue rebates. At the time he presented the proposed budget he advised that it would be unwise for the state to plan to spend any of those funds in advance of that discussion. Continue reading