Feb 27

New fee-funded water enterprise bill raises eyebrows; detractors see a disregard for voter consent

DENVER — A bill being sponsored by Republican Sen. Don Coram that would provide financing to water providers for myriad things, lacks support by some who would otherwise support an idea for more revenue to fund water storage in Colorado.

The biggest issue with Senate Bill 21-034, brought by the southwestern Colorado senator, is it proposes a new enterprise fund, funded by a new fee that detractors see as being in conflict with the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).

TABOR is amendment to the Colorado Constitution that, among other things, requires voter approval for new or increased taxes, as well as limiting growth of a portion of the state’s budget to a formula of population growth plus inflation.

“We haven’t had a chance to look at the bill yet, so our board hasn’t taken a formal position yet,” said Marty Neilson of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, whose primary goal is to support and protect TABOR. “But just hearing the first sentence, I can tell you it is not something we will support.”

That first sentence in the summary reads: “Concerning the creation of an enterprise that is exempt from the requirements of section 20 of article X of the state constitution to administer a fee-based water resources financing program.”

Section 20 article X is the guiding structure behind TABOR. Continue reading

Feb 23

Americans for Prosperity: Poll finds little support for paying more for gas

The legislature could pass a fee of some sort, but lawmakers would have to refer a tax hike to the ballot, because of the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
 
#TABOR
#ItsYourMoneyNotTheirs
#ThankGodForTABOR
#VoteOnTaxesAndFees
#TABOROn
 
Click (HERE) to read this story about TABOR
Feb 15

TABOR And Taxes Have A Big Impact On Seniors In Colorado.

TABOR is a friend to Colorado seniors

TABOR and taxes have a big impact on seniors in Colorado. TABOR is one of the best friends to seniors in Colorado because it limits the growth of government spending (unless approved by Colorado voters) which, in turn, reduces the need for more taxation. In addition, there are other laws that benefit Colorado taxpayers 55 and older who get a $20,000 retirement income exclusion from state taxes, and the exclusion reaches $24,000 when they reach 65. Seniors may qualify for this exemption of up to 50% of the first $200,000 of property value if they’ve lived in the same house for 10 years. In the November 2000 election, Colorado voters passed a Property Tax Exemption for seniors, known as Referendum A.  It is called the Homestead Exemption Act.

Conversely, a big downside for retirees is that Colorado’s sales taxes (which have a local component) are on the high side and can exceed 11% in some parts of the state. Seniors need to be vigilant about local sales tax increase proposals and local property tax increase proposals that are relentless in requesting more money. Local governments and special districts frequently attempt to elude TABOR restrictions by de-Brucing. As a result, local government tax growth often exceeds the state tax growth rate. Colorado taxpayers have rejected over 20 statewide tax increases since the TABOR amendment to the Colorado Constitution was approved by the voters in 1992. Seniors should oppose de-Brucing efforts at the local level to preserve the TABOR provisions.

Income Tax Range

Excepting the plains, the only thing that is flat in Colorado is the income tax rate. Colorado became a flat tax state in 1987 and has a flat income tax rate of 4.55% (the approval of Proposition 116, which appeared on the November 2020 ballot, reduced the rate from 4.63% to 4.55%). TABOR limits how much its revenue can grow from year-to-year by lowering the tax rate if revenue growth is too high. For example, in 2019, this resulted in a rate reduction to 4.5%. Colorado is only one of nine states in the US with a flat income tax. The others are Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Utah. Only Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania have a lower flat tax than Colorado. However, none of these states have a taxpayer’s bill of rights (TABOR) like Colorado does.

Denver and a few other cities in Colorado also impose a monthly payroll tax.

Taxation of Social Security Benefits
Up to $24,000 of Social Security benefits taxed by the federal government, along with other retirement income, can be excluded for Colorado income tax purposes ($20,000 for taxpayers 55 to 64 years old). The exclusion is capped at $20,000 or $24,000 (dependent upon age) regardless of what retirement income is applied. In other words, if a taxpayer has Social Security income, IRA income, and pension income, the cap limits restrict the total exclusion to $20,000/$24,000.

Continue reading

Feb 12

Petition For Writ Of Certiorari To The Colorado Supreme Court

In regards to the lawsuit we filed to overturn the Hospital Provider tax and the subsequent abomination of SB267, we are in the phase of appealing to the Colorado Supreme Court.

The motions the Court is considering from the Court of Appeals ruling is that none of us has standing to bring these matters before legal review. That means that discussion of the facts of the dispute are not being addressed. Unlike the appellate level, the Supreme Court does not have to accept the case for review.

Our attorneys at Cause of Action filed the petition on time, as we are the petitioners.
The Respondents (The State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Health Care Financing, Colorado Healthcare Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise, Kim Bimestefer, Colorado Department of the Treasury, and Dave Young) filed a Reply brief on January 28th arguing that since none of us pay the bed tax (not true) that the Supreme Court should not take up the case (or any of the substantive issues including $400 million of new taxing authority).

The last action was Lee Steven writing a reply with his reasoned, thorough, and direct arguments, that we certainly have standing for all the other issues which Defendants ignored, and also that we have standing on the tax vs. fee question that started it all.

I believe that we are indeed fortunate to have such an excellent, skilled professional working on our behalf.

All three written arguments referenced in the preceding paragraph are attached for your perusal, as well as posted on the TABOR website (http://thetaborfoundation.org/lega…/hospital-provider-tax/).

Finally, here’s a response from our local legal counsel, William Banta:
“There should be no more replies, responses, or rebuttals.
The next step should be the Supreme Court’s decision, either granting or denying our request for certiorari (reconsideration of the Court of Appeals decision).”

Penn Pfiffner,
Chairman of the Board of Directors, TABOR Foundation

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 04

Colorado taxpayers will be asked for more…

Colorado taxpayers will be asked for more…

As tax season is upon us, there are several considerations worth examining about how Colorado is doing. Colorado, like most states, faces fiscal challenges arising from COVID and the lockdowns. Colorado has one of the most expensive states for real estate and the recent Gallagher vote could result in higher residential property tax burdens for Coloradans in the years to come. The Colorado state pension system (PERA) has one of the worst funding ratios in the nation, suggesting PERA funding shortfalls will present problems for Colorado taxpayers and PERA beneficiaries in the years to come. Further, a low funding ratio could result in credit rating downgrades leading to higher borrowing costs for the state. Colorado has about 25% of the population on Medicaid. This could present significant challenges for the Colorado taxpayers in years to come. There will be calls for more taxes and fees to meet the desires of the Colorado legislature.

Here are several sites for referencing how Colorado fiscally compares to the nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 24

Opinion: Politicians’ challenge to Colorado’s TABOR is without merit

For almost three decades, TABOR has been a godsend for Colorado taxpayers.

2:55 AM MST on Jan 24, 2021

Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is under attack once again, this time by the very politicians whose actions TABOR is intended to check.

A lawsuit filed by state legislators and some local elected officials has been wending its way through the federal courts since 2011. They seek to overturn the voter-enacted TABOR amendment to the Colorado constitution, which requires voter approval before state and local legislative bodies can impose or raise taxes.

The lawmakers’ case rests on the dubious idea that by denying legislators a free hand on matters of taxing and spending, TABOR denies Coloradans a republican form of government, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

It’s a specious, self-serving argument that ignores more than a century of case law and practical political experience with voter initiatives and referendums, in Colorado and elsewhere.

The case will now be heard by the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, although it seems likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually get the final word.

It’s a complicated case involving questions of standing — who has the right to bring a case to court — and whether constitutional guarantees of a republican form of government include the actions of political subdivisions such as school boards.

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

Jan 23

Coalition Voices Opposition to Gas “Fee”

“The message politicians are sending to every Coloradan who voted to support TABOR, strengthen taxpayer protections, and oppose tax increases is they don’t care what you say, no matter how often you say it.” – Jesse Mallory AFP-CO State Director

Coalition Voices Opposition to Gas “Fee”

JAN 22, 2021 BY AFPAmericans for Prosperity-Colorado, Colorado Rising State Action, The Independence Institute, The Centennial Institute, and the Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT) all oppose the proposed plan.

DENVER, Colo. – Within months of voters passing increased taxpayer protections with Proposition 117, legislators are signaling they plan to ignore the will of the voters with a proposal to add “fees” on gasoline purchases. A coalition including Americans for Prosperity-Colorado, Colorado Rising State Action, The Independence Institute, The Centennial Institute, and the Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT) came out strongly against this proposal and called on legislators to respect the will of the voters.

Jesse Mallory, State Director, Americans for Prosperity-Colorado:

“The message politicians are sending to every Coloradan who voted to support TABOR, strengthen taxpayer protections, and oppose tax increases is they don’t care what you say, no matter how often you say it. Lawmakers must respect the will of the people and bring these proposals to a vote.”

Michael Fields, Executive Director of Colorado Rising State Action:

“Voters have made it crystal clear that they want to vote on tax and fee increases. Any plan to add significant revenue should include asking voters.”

Jeff Hunt, Director of the Centennial Institute:

“Colorado has some of the worst roads and traffic congestion in the country. Improving our roads is a priority that must be addressed. But forcing hardworking Coloradans to pay for this with additional gas fees in the midst of a pandemic and a struggling economy is the wrong way to go. The Colorado legislature is asking the average Coloradans to pay more just to go to work, go to the grocery store, or pick up their kids from school. The Colorado legislature has the money to spend on improving roads and needs to reprioritize roads over liberal special projects.”

Jon Caldara, President of the Independence Institute:

“Raising the gas tax without a vote of the people by calling it a fee will definitely give Coloradans gas. If it’s a good idea, bring it to the people!”

You can see this story along with others like it by clicking (HERE):