Apr 07

“Truth and reason in ballot language!”

“Truth and reason in ballot language!”
April, 2020

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights includes good government provisions that improve election procedures.

There was a time when Colorado elected officials could push for passage of a bond, or for new taxes, but bury the cost very deep into the explanation on the ballot, in hopes that many voters might not notice the magnitude of the tax.

The ballot language would promise all kinds of wonderful outcomes.  Not only would the new revenues for the government solve the problem in perpetuity, but it would bring world peace and even make the voter more handsome!  Then, near the end in the midst of a lot of other promises, would come the information that the cost to the taxpayer would be very, very high.

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights stopped that sort of game playing.  Now, the government must put the cost right up front.  It has no option but to state how much the new tax will weigh annually on the taxpayer.  For a new bond, the ballot measure must state at the very beginning how much the total new debt will be and what that means for the total repayment cost.  Only then may the government (“district”) present its reasons for the new taxes.

Another game that the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights anticipated and which it explicitly prohibits is a government underestimating a revenue number.  If the new taxes exceed the estimate, the entirety of the overage must be refunded the next year and the rate adjusted downward.

Colorado constitution (Article X, Section 20), paragraph 3(c) states:  “Ballot titles shall begin, ‘SHALL (DISTRICT) TAXES BE INCREASED ____ ANNUALLY?’  (or)  ‘SHALL (DISTRICT) DEBT BE INCREASED (principal amount) WITH A REPAYMENT COST OF (maximum..)’.”  Earlier in the same paragraph is the requirement that “if a tax increase exceeds any estimate… for the same fiscal year, the tax increase is thereafter reduced up to 100% in proportion to the …excess, and the combined excess revenue refunded….”

The paragraph was carefully crafted as a good government improvement, with TABOR protecting the taxpayer in ways beyond just voting on tax rates.

Mar 12

Paid leave, petitions ballot measures land in state Supreme Court

The Colorado Supreme Court In Denver
The Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in downtown Denver, home of the Colorado Supreme Court.

Five additional challenges to proposed ballot initiatives went to the Colorado Supreme Court this week, as opponents seek to block measures pertaining to paid leave, tax policy and the petitioning process from the November statewide ballot.

Kelly Brough, the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, filed four of the challenges. She wrote in a court petition that she believed Initiative 245, which would create a right to ballot initiative at virtually every level of state and local government, had a misleading ballot title because it omitted descriptions of several key features from the complex measure.

Specifically, she argued that the title should inform voters of a reduction in signatures required to put an initiative on the ballot, of newly-assigned jurisdiction to the Supreme Court to hear initiative protests and of prohibitions on legislation from the General Assembly on topics that voters previously rejected through referendum.

The three-member Title Board sets the ballot titles for voters if they determine that an initiative constitutes a single subject. The title must include the central components of the proposal, but also be brief.

To continue reading this story, please click (HERE):

Mar 12

NEW COLORADO BALLOT PROPOSAL

Increase taxes on rich, lower them for rest

Coloradans may be voting this November on a proposal to raise billions of dollars annually by hiking taxes on the rich and using the money on schools and other, unspecified needs of a “growing population and changing economy.”

An issue committee that calls itself Fair Tax Colorado announced Thursday that it will begin collecting signatures to place its proposal, titled Initiative 271, on the 2020 ballot. They’ll need at least 124,632 of them to qualify for the ballot.

It would compensate for the loss in revenue from the tax cut by requiring everyone earning at least $250,000 to pay a 7% income tax rate on their federal taxable income after the first $250,000 and up to $500,000.

Anyone earning more than $500,000 would then pay a 7.75% rate on their income above and beyond the first $500,000, and up to $1 million. Finally, for anyone earning more than $1 million, the measure proposes to tax them $67,700 plus 8.9% of all federal taxable income above and beyond the first million

To continue reading this story, please click (HERE):

Mar 04

TABOR repeal is off the table for 2020. Now it’s Initiative 271, a $2 billion tax hike targeting the wealthy

Vision 2020 Colorado, a coalition behind a tax system overhaul, tells The Sun it will move forward with a graduated income tax measure that will lower taxes for the vast majority

Mar 04

Title Board to take on marijuana repeal, enterprises in ballot measure hearing

Title Board rehearing on 2/19/20
Title Board members David Powell (left) and Theresa Conley listen to an argument during the board’s meeting of Feb. 19, 2020.

The Colorado Initiative Title Setting Review Board on Wednesday will consider whether to set ballot titles for 10 proposed initiatives, and will weigh challenges to 16 measures previously given clearance.

In the current period for measures eligible for the November 2020 ballot, the Title Board has seen a flood of proposals from interest groups and individuals pushing through minor variations of the same initiative. Their strategy serves to guard against challenges and to have time to consider which single measure to ultimately pursue.

Wednesday’s scheduled proposals pertain to tobacco and nicotine taxes, state enterprises and repeal of recreational marijuana.

Voter Approval Requirement for Creation of Certain Fee-Based Enterprises (Initiatives 273-275): These proposals would require statewide voter approval for the creation of new enterprises that are projected to meet certain revenue thresholds in the first three to five years, ranging from $50 million to $100 million. Enterprises are self-supporting, government-owned businesses that have bonding authority and are exempt from the requirements of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The designated representatives are Michael Fields of Parker and Lindsey Singer of Highlands Ranch.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please click (HERE):

Feb 25

More Tax Increases Headed to the Ballot?

They’re coming for more of your money!

Denver, CO – New taxes may be on their way to the ballot. Colorado Initiative Title Setting Review Board approved language for 12 new taxes. The next step will be collecting the two hundred thousand or more signature to have these ballot initiatives appear on your November 2020 ballot.

After the sound defeat of Proposition CC in 2019, the tax and spend crowd would go away for a while. The simple answer is no. As long as liberal billionaires fund “think tanks” like the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute and the Bell Center For Policy, they will always be pushing for tax increases and the repeal of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).

From Colorado Politics:

The board also approved 12 initiatives from Carol Hedges and Steve Briggs of Denver that would create a graduated income tax system, raising approximately $2 billion to $2.4 billion. The money would go toward education and addressing “the impacts of a growing population and a changing economy.”

Voters have turned down tax increases and eliminating spending caps every election they have been on the state-wide ballot. The last successful attempt was Referendum C in 2005 after too many Republicans campaigned hard for it. In a related note, those Republicans political careers ended that day.

To continue reading this story, please click (HERE):

Feb 14

Federal Spending Is Out Of Control, But State Lawmakers Are Introducing Reforms To Rein In The Growth Of Government

Americans are frequently told – by members of the media, candidates, and others – that political division is heightened in this consequential election year. Members of Congress, however, have reached bipartisan agreement that the federal government should spend more money than it brings in, even when the economy is growing and unemployment is low. Fiscal profligacy carries the day in Washington, yet lawmakers in state capitals are taking action to ensure that state spending and the size of government grows at a sustainable clip.

A member of the Wyoming Legislature, Representative Chuck Gray (R), introduced a joint resolution last week that seeks to limit the growth of the state budget and require voter consent for the approval of future tax increases. House Joint Resolution 2, introduced by Representative Gray on February 7, would amend the state constitution to include a “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” that would do two things: limit state spending to the rate of population growth plus inflation, and require all state tax hikes receive voter approval.

Representative Gray’s bill is inspired by Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). Like the TABOR measure now pending in the Wyoming statehouse, Colorado’s TABOR, which has been the law since it was approved by Colorado voters in 1992, requires that all state tax hikes receive approval from Colorado voters. Colorado’s TABOR also caps the increase in state spending at the rate of population growth plus inflation.

Colorado’s TABOR is the reason why Democrats who control the Colorado Legislature and would like to impose a host of tax increases are unable to do so. In November of 2019, Colorado voters affirmed their support for TABOR by rejecting Proposition CC, a measure referred to the ballot by legislative Democrats that would’ve gutted TABOR by ending the taxpayer refunds due in accordance with it.

To continue reading this story, please click (HERE):

Feb 01

Bill to transfer funds to road and bridge projects dies in committee

The #coleg is discussing the possibility of raising the #gastax. Luckily, our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights makes you the decisionmaker, not politicians.

FILE - Colorado Interstate 25
In this Thursday, July 11, 2019, file photograph, southbound Interstate 25 traffic lanes bog down to a crawl at the interchange with Interstate 70 just north of downtown Denver.

A bill that sponsors say would add revenue to funding for Colorado’s roads and bridges without raising taxes was shelved by Democrats in a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 044 was postponed indefinitely by the Democratic-controlled State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

The bill would allocate 10 percent of revenue from sales and use taxes on vehicles toward the state’s highway users tax fund and local governments. That revenue would be moved from the general fund under the legislation.

fiscal note for the bill says it would transfer $366.3 million in fiscal 2021 from the general fund to the highway users tax fund, and $380.7 million in the following year.

To keep reading this story, please click (HERE):

Jan 30

How will Colorado pay for better roads if taxpayers don’t want to pay for better roads?

Let us decipher Matt Gray’s comments (…”we need new revenue to go along with it.”)
with our 6-word analysis:

“We’re going to raise your taxes”

#TABOR
#ItsYourMoneyNotTheirs
#ThankGodForTABOR
#FixTheDamnRoads
#CoLeg 

How will Colorado pay for better roads if taxpayers don’t want to pay for better roads?

Colorado drivers demand better roads and less traffic. Colorado taxpayers won’t pay for better roads and less traffic.

Don’t believe us? Ask one.

Colorado voters love saying no to giving up more of their money to fix traffic and roads.

Don’t believe us? Look at the state’s history on ballot issues for roads.

Republican lawmakers want to continue using general fund money — the money that the state already collects and spends.

“This building keeps saying to the people of Colorado, ‘give us more money,’ and the people of Colorado are saying, ‘show me you’re going to spend the money we’re already given you on the things we care about, like roads and bridges,'” said Sen. Paul Lundeen, R-Monument.

Lundeen proposed a bill that would have brought back an old Colorado law that used existing money the state already collected.

To continue reading this story, please click (HERE):

Jan 29

GUEST COLUMN: No more kicking the can down the (potholed) road

“Then, when the money dries up, taxpayers are asked to raise taxes again. This happened just this last November, when Democrats tried to push Proposition CC as the solution to transportation funding.” – Sen Lundeen & Rep Carver

 

For years — decades even — Coloradans have called upon the General Assembly to prioritize Colorado’s outdated transportation infrastructure. Our elected officials have for so long kicked this proverbial can down the (potholed) road that the Colorado Department of Transportation now has a backlog of anywhere from $7 billion to $9 billion in projects. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly a fourth of Colorado’s entire budget this year.

We hear it all the time — where are the taxes we already pay going?

The truth is that the legislature has been using your tax dollars as a piggy bank for pet projects instead of utilizing them to fill potholes and add new highway lanes. Pet projects such as Senate Bill 19-173, a $800,000 study on the feasibility of the state government getting involved in your retirement savings, the creation of an “Office of Just Transition” that has been covered extensively in the press, and $6 million for unnecessary census outreach that wasn’t required by the federal government. These have all been priorities of legislative Democrats — not transportation.