Tails should not wag dogs. It defies physics, not to mention the will of the dog. Tails should wag dogs no more than politicians should decide the size and scope of a government established by the governed to serve the governed. A roaring economy should never increase the size and scope of government unless the people demand it.
The residents of Colorado have made clear they don’t want more government. They believe the state has all the money it needs. They reiterated this conviction just two years ago when they trounced Proposition CC, a proposal to let the state keep revenues above a floating state spending cap determined by an equation of inflation and population growth.
Just last year, voters went a step further and lowered the Property tax from 4.63% to 4.55%, and probably would have voted for a lower rate had they been given the option.
One reason this center-left blue state wants to throttle back government spending is the general discontent the public has with the way politicians treat their money.
To read the rest of this editorial, please click (HERE):
Colorado taxpayers should expect to see Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights refunds for the next several years, provided state revenues continue to do well over that time, state economists told lawmakers Tuesday.
Those economists told the Colorado Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee that their third-quarter revenue forecasts are showing that if the economy continues to bounce back from last year’s pandemic downturn the way it is right now, the state could see more than $4 billion in surplus revenue over the next four years.
That’s money over and above what the 1992 TABOR and 2005 Referendum C voter-approved amendments allows the state to retain, meaning it all is to be refunded to taxpayers when they file their income tax forms starting next year.
As things stand now, the Legislature expects to refund about $471.4 million next year, $1 billion in 2023, $1.2 billion in 2024 and $1.4 billion in 2025, the economist estimated.
That’s all possible because the state’s economy overall is at or near at pre-pandemic levels.
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This is similar to President Biden’s Federal program for minority businesses that was ruled unconstitutional by a Federal judge.
Governor Polis is trying to skirt the law with Colorado funds.
Forward this information to your friends who qualify so we can try to get the Colorado program ruled unconstitutional
Pacific Legal Foundation is looking to identify small businesses in Colorado that may be interested in serving as public interest clients (i.e., with our pro bono representation) in challenging Colorado’s program that prioritizes grants to certain minority owned small businesses. Below is a summation of the issue. If you know of anyone who might be a good fit, we would be very interested in connecting with them.
Colorado is in the process of creating guidelines to distribute 1.7 million dollars in grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID pandemic. The law that authorizes this program expressly gives a preference to “minority-owned business,” and disadvantages businesses owned by someone who is white or Native American. Last week Colorado posted guidelines for the grants: https://oedit.colorado.gov/disproportionately-impacted-business-grant . The grants are for up to $10,000 per business, and applications are open from September 17 to October 3, 2021.
The program will give a preference to minority-owned businesses in distributing the grants, which we still believe is unconstitutional.
Given the short application window, we want to speak with individuals who own small businesses and are interested in applying for these grants as soon as possible. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Wen Fa | Attorney
Pacific Legal Foundation
930 G Street | Sacramento, CA 95814
If there is one thing that I’ve learned during my time in state government, it’s that Coloradans like to have their voices heard on taxes, fees and government debt. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) is often at the center of debate and discussion on these issues, but at every opportunity that voters have had, they’ve repeatedly upheld TABOR.
Colorado voters soundly defeated — by over 100,000 votes — an attempt to repeal portions of TABOR just two years ago when we voted down Proposition CC. Then, in 2020, voters strengthened TABOR by passing Proposition 117, which required that any new fees that feed into a government enterprise that expect to bring in over $100 million over five years must be voted on by the people. This initiative was born from necessity as some politicians found it convenient to bypass TABOR by simply switching out the term “tax” for “fee.”
This legislative session, Democrats, who have complete control over state government, were determined to not let you have a say when it comes to taxes and fees. Colorado Public Radio columnist Andrew Kenney dubbed this legislative session as “The Year Democrats Left TABOR Behind,” and I unfortunately must agree.
The most egregious example of the ruling party’s tactics was Senate Bill 21-260. While this legislation was heralded as the best step we’ve taken in decades on transportation infrastructure, the truth is that our roads and bridges will see less than a $2 billion investment over 10 years. While that number seems substantial, keep in mind that we — as of today — have about $10 billion worth of road and bridge projects we still have not started.
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Towns and Cities Should Use Their Stimulus Windfalls to Cut Taxes
States can’t do it, but there’s nothing stopping local governments from issuing refunds.
By Judge Glock
Sept. 14, 2021 12:54 pm ET
President Biden speaks during at an event on his tour touting the American Rescue Plan Act in Columbus, Ohio, March 23. PHOTO: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS
Since the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act in March, state policy makers have fiercely debated how to spend nearly $200 billion in stimulus funds. Few Americans, however, have heard plans for the $130 billion that went to cities and counties.
Despite concerns during the pandemic that the economic downturn would bankrupt local governments, we now know that they don’t need this windfall. Local governments actually saw an increase in tax revenue in 2020, thanks to growing property taxes, and they are looking at a bumper tax year in 2021. States should push these cities and counties to return the stimulus money to taxpayers by allowing citizens to vote on any new spending.
The stimulus legislation forbade states to use the money to cut taxes. It was silent on local government tax cuts, but did say those funds should be used for the relief of households and for spurring local economies. Nothing would accomplish these tasks better than cutting property and sales taxes, the two biggest sources of local tax revenue.
Not only is stimulus unnecessary for most local governments, it was distributed nonsensically. The act gave money to counties and small cities based solely on their population and to large cities based on an antiquated formula from the 1970s that benefits bluer cities in the Northeast and Midwest.
To continue reading this story from the Wall Street Journal, please click (HERE):
It seems like just yesterday to us that Colorado voters adopted the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights on the statewide ballot and ensconced it into the state’s constitution. Yet, the groundbreaking policy has been in effect for nearly three decades.
In that time, it has kept state and local government on a diet — and has saved taxpayers untold millions of dollars. And they still love it after all these years, as most credible polls show.
Perhaps more noteworthy: Even some political leaders on the center-left seem to have made their peace with the policy. Our reputedly liberal Democratic governor from Boulder went so far as to laud it just the other day. That’s quite a stride.
Best known by its acronym “TABOR,” it was bitterly opposed by the political establishment — a number of Republicans as well as most Democrats — at the time of its passage in 1992. It is still resented by left-leaning interest groups for its infringement, as they see it, on their ability to lobby for more and bigger government programs. And plenty of elected officials of every stripe continue to chafe at its restraints on their power over the public purse. A federal lawsuit against the constitutional amendment filed by some liberal stakeholders continues to crawl along.
Yet, TABOR’s basic premise has always made perfect sense to the general public. It requires voter approval for any tax hike at any level of government in the state. And it set limits on the rate at which government budgets can grow. Any increase in tax revenue that exceeds the rates of growth plus inflation in a given year have to be returned to taxpayers. Elected leaders can keep the overage if they first ask voters’ permission.
Click (HERE) to continue reading this story about TABOR:
One great, though lesser-known benefit provided in the Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) is the local ballot issue notice. This guide is sent by mail at least 30-days before the election to all households with one or more registered voters.
The TABOR ballot issue notice includes content and details about upcoming local ballot measures which increase taxes, add debt, or suspend government revenue limits. It includes a section where registered electors have the opportunity to submit FOR or AGAINST comments, up to 500 words each.
You should know that there are two types of TABOR ballot issue notices. One notice is for the statewide elections and commonly referred to as the “Blue Book.” The notice discussed here is for elections held by local governments such as a city, town, school district, or special taxing district. You could potentially get more than one of these notices in the mail.
Several years back, it was discovered that out that of some 300 local tax issues throughout the state during a ballot year, only 15 had the taxpayer’s voice printed in a ballot issue notice. That’s only 5 percent! You can make a big difference and amplify your voice by being an author of the next ballot issue notice where you live. Considering that you reach thousands of voters, being able to submit comments in the TABOR notice costs almost nothing and takes relatively little time & energy.
Click (HERE) to continue reading the rest of this story:
Gov. Jared Polis and Progressive Democrat majorities at the Ssate Capitol have spent the past three years ignoring clearly-expressed voices of Colorado voters on tax and economic issues. In fact, Progressive Democrats’ disregard for many of the same voters who elected them has become so brazen that they seem to be daring voters to hold them accountable.
With commanding majorities of 41-24 in the House of Representatives and 20-15 in the state Senate, it’s understandable that Democrats are developing a sense of invincibility.
However, it remains to be seen if the Democrats’ recent surge — in 2017, they held a 34-31 margin in the House, while Republicans had an 18-17 majority in the Senate — is due to their own popularity or because Donald Trump irritated many Colorado voters.
In 2018, Colorado voters rejected (59%-40%) a tax increase to raise $700 million a year for highways and transportation. In that same election, voters said “no” (55%-45%) to draconian restrictions on oil and gas development across the state. Polis, campaigning for governor, claimed to oppose those severe oil-and-gas restrictions.
To continue reading this story, please click (HERE):
Submitting FOR or AGAINST statements in your local TABOR ballot issue notice
One great though lesser-known benefit provided in the Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) is the local ballot issue notice. This guide is sent by mail at least 30-days before the election to all households with one or more registered voters.
The TABOR ballot issue notice includes content and details about upcoming ballot issues which increase taxes, add debt, or suspend government revenue limits. It includes a section where registered electors have the opportunity to submit FOR or AGAINST comments, up to 500 words each.
You should know that there are two types of TABOR ballot issue notices. One notice is for the statewide elections and commonly referred to as the “Blue Book.” The other notice is for elections held by local governments such as a town, school district, or special district. You could potentially get more than one of these in the mail.
Several years back, Dennis Polhill challenged the Colorado Union of Taxpayers by pointing out that of some 300 tax issues statewide during a ballot year, only 15 had the taxpayer’s voice printed in a ballot issue notice. That’s only 5 percent! You can make a big difference and amplify your voice by being an author of the next ballot issue notice submittal. May we count on you please to participate? Considering that you reach thousands of voters, being able to submit comments in the TABOR notice costs almost nothing and takes relatively little time & energy.
On Monday, June 14, the Colorado Supreme Court declined to consider the appeal of case brought by the TABOR Foundation, et. al. to stop the blatantly unconstitutional Hospital Provider tax and program. That means the ruling of the lower Court of Appeals is the final say.
The original filing in June 2015 addressed the issue that the new bed tax was required to have voter approval under TABOR, but that the legislature had violated the citizen right. Then in a related development, in 2017 state senator Jerry Sonnenberg revived the dormant senate bill 267 in the last few days of the session, enacting a host of terrible new laws, violating the single-subject rule and among many other bad ideas, opening $400 million/year in new taxation and spending without a TABOR vote. Our case was amended (twice) to incorporate that abomination and we added many items to our request for remedy.
The trial court judge sat on the case for two years, not even scheduling a hearing. Then he ruled against the citizens. We appealed his decision. The appeals panel found that no one had standing to sue, so prohibited the case from moving forward on the merits. “It was as if the judges did not bother to read the written arguments or to care about the substance of the amended lawsuit,” said TABOR Committee chairman Penn Pfiffner. “Their decision ignored all issues brought forward except for the imposition of the bed tax. It was so insufficient, so lacking, as to be amateurish. Unfortunately, the Colorado Supreme Court went along with the foolishness.”
Beyond adding up $400 million each year in new taxation and spending without the required vote of the people, it put the State into debt by $2 billion, which should also have required separate voter approval. Imagine – taxpayers spend $400 million more each year and they don’t have standing! The Court appears to have dropped any attempt to be true to the constitution and to respect that citizens are (supposed to be) in charge of their governments.