Bridge Enterprise Lawsuit

TABOR Committee members and TABOR friends,

We regret to inform you that the TABOR Foundation lost the Bridge Enterprise case.

The Court of Appeals concluded that the tax could still be designated a fee if it was likely the payer could use a bridge in the future. The only step left to us in the judicial system was for the Colorado Supreme Court to recognize the fallacy of that conclusion and overturn the Appellate Court. The Supreme Court selects the cases it will hear and yesterday declined to allow the case to proceed any further.

The TABOR Committee Board believed the case was eminently win-able. The state government’s scheme was so obviously a subterfuge to get around TABOR; the structure and premises so blatantly dishonest that we could not foresee any judge allowing it to proceed. The practical consequence of the loss is that the fiction will continue that you incur a toll when you cross a bridge and that you pay your tolls every year with your car registration tax. The “Bridge Enterprise” will continue to operate as if it were a business, but do so inside the Colorado Department of Transportation. It performs what is historically a government function, uses the Colorado Transportation Commission as its board of directors and the Department director as its executive director. It will mean that the made-up entity can continue to move government revenues off-budget and eventually place Colorado citizens in debt for about $1 billion off-budget, without prior voter approval. What a travesty.

The only possible resolution at this point is political. That is, a conservative governor and a legislature that adheres to constitutional primacy and respects the spirit of TABOR would have to take office. That rare alignment could conceivably reverse the statutes that put this rotten system into place. With Hickenlooper having just started a second term, that vision is a long time from even being considered.

After nearly half a year waiting on legal developments, we have seen three major actions in as many business days. Please look for another report from your TABOR Committee very soon.

Penn Pfiffner
TABOR Committee Chairman

6 29 2015 Order Denying Cert


 Whether the Colorado General Assembly can circumvent the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) of the Colorado Constitution by granting a government-owned enterprise the power to assess taxes and incur debt without a vote of the people?


 TABOR Foundation, a Colorado nonprofit, public-interest foundation dedicated to protecting and enforcing TABOR, which requires a vote of the people before Colorado may create new debt, levy new taxes, increase tax rates, or institute tax policy changes directly causing a net tax revenue gain.


 Colorado Bridge Enterprise; Colorado Transportation Commission; Trey Rogers, Gary M. Reiff, Heather Barry, Kathy Gilliland, Kathy Connell, Douglas Aden, Steve Parker, Les Gruen, Gilbert Ortiz, and Edward J. Peterson, all in their official capacities as members of the Colorado Transportation Commission


Colorado Supreme Court

One thought on “Bridge Enterprise Lawsuit

  1. Thank you so much for fighting this battle! This is just another in a long string of anti-TABOR decisions to come from our judicial system.

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