Jun 03

Interrogatory On House Bill 21-1164 TABOR Public School Finance Act

On May 24, 2021, the Colorado Supreme Court continued its crusade against the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. It allowed the General Assembly, yet again, to maneuver around TABOR’s constitutional restrictions and effectively raise taxes without getting the required voter approval. The procedure used by the General Assembly was the unusual one of submitting Interrogatories to the Supreme Court, which ask whether their proposed scheme is allowed, prior to passing the law.

At issue were the mill levy rates in 174 separate school districts. The voters in all of these districts had, with varying language and circumstances, voted to exempt their districts from the necessity of returning excess revenues to their taxpayers.  The districts were then impacted by the Colorado Department of Education’s determination that, in order to prevent revenues from increasing, they had to lower their mill levies as property values increased, and therefore, property tax revenues increased.

The legislature proposed, and now has passed, a complex plan to eliminate tax credits, which it created just last year, gradually over the course of the next 19 years. Of course, the State imposition of higher mill levies and its elimination of tax credits will raise taxes. Given the increase in Colorado property values, the increases will be significant.

The TABOR Foundation, filed a friend of the court (“amicus”) brief, written by attorney Rebecca Sopkin.  The TABOR Foundation’s participation gave you a voice in this matter.  The filing protested this clear evasion of the requirement that voters approve any increases in their taxes.

Justice Brian Boatwright, in a well written dissent, pointed out that taxpayers “will see an increase in their mill levy rates as a result of” the proposed legislation, HB1164. He then noted that “[t]he voters today did not approve of this, and neither did the voters in the late 1990s.”  The court majority, however, disregarded the obvious impact of this legislation and gave its tax increases the green light.

Colorad Supreme Cout Opinion by The Forum on Scribd

May 15

Penn Pfiffner – TABOR in the Courts (Taxpayers Bill of Rights) March 23, 2015

There has been a major battle brewing in Colorado over the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, so we brought in one of the leading authorities on the subject, Mr. Penn Pfiffner, to talk about it. After a short refresher on the form and function of TABOR (https://youtu.be/GBZOJCsuFwA), Penn discusses the current legal attacks and the defenses being offered.

Understanding TABOR is as easy as it is crucial, so load up on some intellectual ammunition so you can defend your rights as taxpayers when speaking with friends and colleagues who may be unwittingly trying to take them away.

Penn Pfiffner was an early leader and proponent of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) and served as Regional Coordinator in the 1986 effort. He served on the TABOR Committee in subsequent years and is the current Chair. He led the opposition campaigns to the anti-TABOR Amendment 59 in 2008 and the tax increase proposal, Proposition 103.

Penn earned a Masters in Finance from CU-Denver. He taught college Economics part-time for thirteen years, at both graduate and undergraduate levels. He has a financial and managerial consulting practice, Construction Economics, LLC. Penn and Karen are the parents of three adult children. He is a veteran, having served as an officer in the Navy.

May 15

Movement on Kerr vs. Polis Lawsuit

During this past week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals held Oral Argument on May 10, 2021.  The case is in the appellate phase after the District Judge found that the Plaintiffs do not have standing.

For more background and details on the case, go to our web file.  The latest action of your TABOR Foundation was to join a friend-of-the-court legal argument.

May 12

Federal appeals court to consider future of lawsuit over Colorado’s TABOR

Federal appeals court to consider future of lawsuit over Colorado’s TABOR

The 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights requires that tax increases be approved by voters

Two women walk up the steps on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, on Oct. 16, 2018. (John Ingold, The Colorado Sun)

The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will consider whether a long-running lawsuit challenging Colorado’s strict tax and spending limits as unconstitutional can proceed.

Colorado Politics reports that a nine-judge panel will consider on Monday a review of the lawsuit, which was filed in 2011 by group of elected officials.

The 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights requires that tax increases be approved by voters. It also requires the state to refund tax revenue that exceeds a figure determined by a formula based on inflation and population growth.

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

May 12

9 federal judges set to decide fate of TABOR repeal lawsuit

9 federal judges set to decide fate of TABOR repeal lawsuit

Hickenlooper submits his final state budget, but it may not last long
Exactly 10 years after a group of local and state elected officials first filed a legal challenge to Colorado’s most celebrated — and vilified — constitutional provision, the entirety of the Denver-based federal appeals court will now consider whether to pull the plug on that fight.

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which hears appeals from Colorado and five surrounding states, will hold a rare all-judges hearing, known as an “en banc” review, of the lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Although appellate courts typically issue decisions in panels of three judges, the 10th Circuit in October granted en banc review of the TABOR case.

Such hearings are highly atypical: from October 2018 through September 2019, the 10th Circuit only heard one case en banc out of more than 1,100.

There are 12 authorized judgeships on the 10th Circuit that require presidential nomination and U.S. Senate confirmation. However, only nine judges will participate in the en banc panel: five who were nominees of Democratic presidents and four who were Republican nominees.

The diminished number is the result of two Clinton administration appointees retiring from active status earlier this year. One of them, Senior Judge Mary Beck Briscoe, will join the en banc hearing. In addition, of the 10 remaining active judges, Scott M. Matheson Jr., a nominee of President Barack Obama, and Joel M. Carson III, a nominee of Donald Trump, have each recused themselves.

TABOR, a 1992 constitutional amendment, limits the amount of revenue the state can collect and spend, and requires voter approval for new taxes and tax rate increases. The amendment also provided a mechanism to refund revenue collections to taxpayers in excess of a formula based on inflation and population growth. Colorado refunded nearly $3.5 billion in the quarter-century since TABOR’s passage.

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

May 10

Federal judges to hear TABOR repeal, appellate court deals with censured judge

COURT CRAWL | Federal judges to hear TABOR repeal, appellate court deals with censured judge

Courthouse close with Justice inscribed
Welcome to Court Crawl, Colorado Politics’ roundup of news from the third branch of government. Today will feature a rare all-judges hearing in Colorado’s federal appellate court, plus the state’s Court of Appeals last week issued guidance for parties who appeared before a now-censured judge.

TABOR saga continues

This morning, the entire roster of judges on the Denver-based federal appeals court will hear oral arguments in the decade-long lawsuit over whether to declare Colorado’s 1992 Taxpayer Bill of Rights unconstitutional. Today’s hearing likely won’t end the lawsuit: the question before the judges is whether political subdivisions, like school districts or boards of county commissioners, have legal standing to sue for TABOR’s repeal.

•  Listen live at 10 a.m. here.

COURT CRAWL | Federal judges to hear TABOR repeal, appellate court deals with censured judge | Courts | coloradopolitics.com

Feb 07

Appeals Court Rules Kerr, et al, Have Standing In TABOR Lawsuit

Appeals Rules Standing OK_7.22.19 by North Suburban Republican Forum on Scribd

Feb 07

Court Wait Until After Ballot Initiative

Court_wait Until After Ballot Initiative_12.13.19 by North Suburban Republican Forum on Scribd

Feb 07

Court Order Vacates Appellate Panel Decision

Court Order Vacates Appellate Panel_10.14.20 by North Suburban Republican Forum on Scribd

Feb 06

Appeals Court Rules Standing OK

FILED
United States Court of Appeals
Tenth Circuit

PUBLISH
July 22, 2019

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
Elisabeth A. Shumaker

Clerk of Court
FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT
_________________________________
ANDY KERR, Colorado State
Representative; NORMA V. ANDERSON;
JANE M. BARNES, member Jefferson
County Board of Education; ELAINE GANTZ BERMAN, member State Board of Education; ALEXANDER E. BRACKEN; WILLIAM K. BREGAR, member Pueblo District 70 Board of Education; BOB BRIGGS, Westminster No. 17-1192
City Councilman; BRUCE W.
BRODERINS, member Weld County
District 6 Board of Education; TRUDY B.
BROWN; JOHN C. BUECHNER, Ph.D.,
Lafayette City Councilman; STEPHEN A.
BURKHOLDER; RICHARD L. BYYNY,
M.D.; LOIS COURT, Colorado State
Representative; THERESA L. CRATER;
ROBIN CROSSAN, member Steamboat
Springs RE-2 Board of Education;
RICHARD E. FERDINANDSEN;
STEPHANIE GARCIA, member Pueblo
City Board of Education; KRISTI
HARGROVE; DICKEY LEE
HULLINGHORST, Colorado State
Representative; NANCY JACKSON,
Arapahoe County Commissioner; CLAIRE
LEVY, Colorado State Representative;
MARGARET MARKERT, Aurora City
Councilwoman, a/k/a Molly Markert; MEGAN J. MASTEN; MICHAEL MERRIFIELD; MARCELLA L.
MORRISON, a/k/a Marcy L. Morrison;
JOHN P. MORSE, Colorado State Senator;
PAT NOONAN; BEN PEARLMAN,
Boulder County Commissioner;
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