Jul 24

2021 Colorado legislature’s new taxes bypass TABOR

2021 Colorado legislature’s new taxes bypass TABOR by Kevin Lundberg


Taxes and TABOR

As a part of my deeper dive into the 2021 bills that are now law, this week’s bills affecting taxes and TABOR are examined. In general, the bills which passed this year increased taxes and established new enterprises without calling for any constitutionally required votes from the people of Colorado.

This is far too predictable for the majority party. They use every trick in their playbook to wiggle around the clear intent of TABOR to require the people to vote on these significant new burdens on all citizens of Colorado.

However, there was one small bright spot I found.  SB-227 created the State Emergency Reserve Cash Fund, finally putting actual cash into the TABOR-required emergency fund. Since TABOR was created, nearly thirty years ago, the TABOR emergency reserve has been essentially ignored. Instead of actually setting aside cash as a reserve the legislature creatively designated assets, such as buildings as the “reserve” for emergencies. Finally, in this year, when the state coffers are full of federal debt dollars, they found some money to actually make a viable fund.

But the rest of the laws headed in the opposite direction Continue reading

Jul 04

Colorado Ranked No. 20 for its Fiscal Health

A new accounting report shows that Colorado did not go into the coronavirus pandemic in good fiscal shape, and it likely came out of the crisis even worse.

Truth in Accounting is an organization that was founded in 2002 by CPAs to “compel governments to produce financial reports that are understandable, reliable, transparent, and correct.” It is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization headquartered in Chicago. One of their reports, The Morning Call recently published a financial analysis of all 50 states. Their analysis included the following key facts regarding Colorado’s financial health.

Colorado is ranked 20 th of all 50 states for financial health.

Colorado owes more than it owns.

Colorado’s taxpayer burden is -$2,600, and it received a  “C” from TIA for financial management.

The taxpayer burden measurement incorporates both assets and liabilities, not just pension debt.

Colorado is a “sinkhole” state without enough assets to cover its debt.

Colorado only has $14.9 billion of assets available to pay bills totaling $20.3 billion.

Because Colorado doesn’t have enough money to pay its bills, it has a $5.4 billion  financial hole. To fill it, each Colorado taxpayer would have to send $2,600 to the state.

The state’s financial report was released 205 days after its fiscal year-end, which is considered untimely according to the  180 day standard.

Colorado legislators have been attempting to circumnavigate taxpayer restraints established by TABOR, The Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, a constitutional amendment approved by Colorado voters in 1992.


The full report can be found here: