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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Jan 28

How will legislative Democrats pay for their agenda?

DENVER–Governor Polis and the majority Democrats have an ambitious agenda this legislative session. Question is, how will they pay for it all?  With the failure of Proposition CC in November, those who were hanging their hats on voters giving up future tax refunds, allowing the state to keep and spend overcollected tax revenue, will need to find new pots of money.  Indeed, not only did Coloradans vote to keep the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) revenue limit in place, that limit has been hit and the state income tax rate is actually ratcheting down for the year.

Republican strategist Roger Hudson and Democrat strategist Miller Hudson recently sat down with Complete Colorado editor-in-Chief Mike Krause on the public affairs TV show Devil’s Advocate (airs Friday nights at 8:30 on Colorado Public Television, channel 12) to talk about where Democrats might turn to bring in new revenues. Both agree that one option is more more fee-funded government-run enterprises, which operate outside the TABOR budget cap. Check out the video below to find out more.

VIDEO: How will legislative Democrats pay for their agenda?

Jan 23

Income tax rate reduction bill killed by Senate Democrats

Income tax rate reduction bill killed by Senate Democrats

(Photo illustration by Tinnakorn Jorruang, iStock)

Gov. Jared Polis, in his state of the state address on Jan. 9, continued to voice support for the concept of an income tax rate reduction, but it isn’t going over well with Democrats in the state legislature.

And they showed that on Wednesday, when Democrats on the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee put to an end Senate Bill 20, voting it down on a 3-2 party-line vote.

The measure is the second attempt in the past two years from Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling.

Sonnenberg’s bill would reduce the state’s individual and corporate income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.49%. The bill’s fiscal analysis said it would cost the state $143.8 million in lost tax revenue in 2019-20 and $294.6 million the following year.

And because of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), that reduction would be permanent unless voters decided to allow the state to increase income tax rates through a ballot measure.

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Jan 16

Colorado progressives have a new target in their pursuit of a tax overhaul: the rich. Here’s why:

A host of proposed ballot measures for 2020 and proposals at the state Capitol are putting Colorado’s uneven tax system in the spotlight