Historical List of TABOR court cases 1993-2017

The following is a historical list of TABOR court cases from 1993-2017, compiled by Lisa Secor, Esq., Secor Law, Denver Colorado.

2017.05.04 – Kerr et al v. Hickenlooper

  1. Moore grants Gov. Hickenlooper’s motion to dismiss this constitutional challenge brought by the legislators, educators, citizens and political subdivisions seeking to overturn the Colorado Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights aka TABOR, finding that none of them have standing to pursue their claims. The 10th Circuit has separately ruled that the legislators do not have standing to bring the claims asserted. The educators and the citizens do not have standing because they are asserting the rights of others, not their own. While the school districts have stated an injury related to costs which TABOR requires in order to present issues to the voters, school funding is not provided under the enabling act; and, the school districts have failed to identify any rights under the enabling act which they seek to enforce. The right to a republican form of government is a generalized grievance, and the right is granted to the people of the State of Colorado, not to the political subdivisions. Therefore, the school districts have no standing to assert a right given to the people.



2016.06.03 – Kerr v. Hickenlooper. 824 F.3d 1207, 1217 (10th Cir. 2016).

In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona, infra, the 10th Circuit overturned the Colorado federal court, finding that the legislators lack standing to bring the action because they have no particular or concrete injury. The legislator-plaintiffs asserted only an institutional injury – alleging they have been individually disempowered in an indirect way as a result of Tabor’s effect on the General Assembly’s authority as an institution.  Arizona holds that when the people of a state reserve to themselves the power to veto the legislature or pass initiatives themselves, that sovereign right is characterized as a nonjusticiable political matter. In other words, there is no legal right to seek redress in the courts as a result of the exercise of that sovereign power. Therefore, the legislators do not have standing to seek redress against the people for “undermining” their authority.


2015.11.05 – Colo. Union of Taxpayers Found. v. City of Aspen

The appellate court affirms the district court, which granted summary judgment in this plastic bag ordinance case, in favor of the City of Aspen and members of its city council, finding that the foundation did not overcome the presumption of validity which attaches to ordinances generally, and did not present evidence that government would be reduced without the ordinance. The primary purpose of the plastic bag ordinance is to reduce waste and provide revenue for trash management education and to provide reusable bags, and it does not defray general city or state expenses. Everyone who pays the fee has access to the services provided by the fund (even though not everyone charged uses reusable bags and even though others who don’t pay the fee can also get reusable bags); so, the ordinance is not a tax, and it does not have to comply with TABOR to get voter approval.


2015.06.30 – Hickenlooper v. Kerr_ 192 L. Ed. 2d 956

Writ of certiorari granted by the Tenth Circuit, in light of new U.S. Supreme Court decision:

2016.06.29 – Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Comm’n

, 576U.S.___, 135S. Ct. 2652, 192L. Ed. 2d704, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 4253 (2015).

The people’s sovereign right to incorporate themselves into a State’s lawmaking apparatus, by reserving for themselves the power to adopt laws and to veto measures passed by elected representatives, is one the U.S. Supreme Court has ranked a nonjusticiable political matter. General references to the power of the legislature in the Arizona Constitution include the people’s right to bypass their elected representatives and make laws directly through the initiative. (Initiatives in the AZ Const. reserve to the people the power to propose laws and amendments to the constitution.)



2015.06.29 – Tabor Found. v. Colo. Bridge Found. – Writ of Cert denied – TABOR Found. v.

Aden_ 2015 Colo. LEXIS 596

Writ of Certiorari denied.

2014.12.15 – In re Ravenna Metro. Dist._ 522 B.R. 656 2014 Bankr.

In a turnabout, a developer tries to argue that the enterprise was same as district so that his enterprise would qualify for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. He also argued that TABOR precluded him from assessing fees against the landowners (which would be a windfall to the developer). The court found that the water enterprise is not insolvent because its largest debt, the bonds, are not “due,” the Lease is subject to a bonafide dispute, and the District has sufficient ability to fund its existing operational and maintenance costs into the future.  The District claims that assessing fees that would fund its maintenance and operational costs may be unconstitutional under TABOR, and threatened to file a TABOR suit; however, only a taxpayer can assert a violation of TABOR, not the district or the enterprise.


Bonds are not due because they are only required to be paid when there are tax revenues available to pay them.


The court noted that if the water service enterprise obligations were always synonymous with those of the district, then TABOR compliance and voter approval would be mandatory. Yet, to overcome this obstacle, the legislator enabled the creation of government water activity enterprises. Political subdivisions often use the enterprise vehicle because the necessary capital investment is considerable and often involves multi-year contracts. Absent enterprise status, a district would have to obtain voter approval. Therefore, the enterprise and the district must be distinct entities or the water enterprise statute would have no meaning. So, the water enterprise’s debt cannot be considered the district’s debt in order to evaluate whether the district is insolvent and entitled to bankruptcy restructuring.


Similar considerations create a dispute about who is liable for the lease, the district and/or the water enterprise. This dispute precludes this lease debt from being factored into the question of whether the district is insolvent because the debt created by the lease is not necessarily the district’s debt.


Lastly, the future ability to pay debt shows that all the district has to do is assess the fees it is authorized to assess. The bankruptcy petition was rejected as the district was ineligible and had not sought alternatives in good faith before filing.

2014.11.10 – Drive Sunshine Inst. v. High Performance Transp. Enter-1
2014.10.07 – Drive Sunshine Inst. v. High Performance Transp. Enter
Tabor mentioned, but not pled on appeal.

2014.08.14 – Tabor Found. v. Colo. Bridge Enter._ 2014 COA 106

The court of appeals affirms the trial court’s ruling that the Colorado Bridge Enterprise is a TABOR-exempt enterprise in this objection raised by the Tabor Foundation, and the bridge safety surcharge and bonds issued by the enterprise were not required to be approved by the voters. The legislature created a government owned business and authorized it to impose a bridge safety surcharge – added to vehicle registration fees based on weight of the vehicle — to finance, repair, reconstruct and replace some bridges, not based on actual use of any bridge. Yet, as long as a charge is reasonably related to the overall cost of providing the service and is imposed on those who benefit from it, and cannot be used for another purpose, the charge is a fee not a tax. The definition of a grant is as defined in the statute creating the enterprise, and the $14 million in federal funding does not count as a grant under the definition, so those funds do not pull the bridge enterprise under the restrictions of TABOR. Similarly, the value of the bridges transferred from the state to the bridge enterprise does not constitute a state grant under the statute’s definition. Judges Casebolt, Berger and Marquez.


 2014.07.22 – Kerr v. Hickenlooper (Overturned by 10th Circuit in 2016, above)

The Court of Appeals refused to have the matter reheard by the entire court of appeals panel after it was affirmed by the 3-judge panel. Judges Hartz, Tymkovich and Gorsuch dissent, and believe the matter should be heard. (See analysis of dissent for details on the dissenting judge’s opinions.)

2014.06.23 – Milo v. Coulter (In re Title_ Ballot Title and Submission)

The Colorado Supreme Court affirms the action of the Title Board and rules that the initiative seeking to amend TABOR by defining a “fee” as a “voluntarily incurred governmental charge in exchange for a specific benefit conferred on the payer” – is a proper initiative, finding that the initiative had a single subject – the uniform definition of a fee — and was not misleading despite its broad application. Judge Hood writes opinion; Rice and Hobbs dissent.

2014.06.23 – Hayes v. Spalding (In re Title_ Ballot Title_ & Submission)

The Colorado Supreme Court reverses the Title Board and rules that Initiative 76 relates to more than one subject and has two separate purposes, making it an improper initiative that should not be submitted to the voters. The initiative would significantly revamp the recall provisions for state and local elected officers, and it would add a right to recall non-elected state and local officers, and violates the prohibition against putting together two subjects to attract votes for one subject that would overwhelm the other subject, which on its own would not be approved. Judge Hobbs wrote the opinion; Eid and Coats dissent.

2014.05.19 – United States ex rel. Ruotsinoja v. Bd. of Governors

The federal court grants the board of governors’ motion to dismiss this false claims act case,

alleging that Colorado State University collected more grant money than it should have. The director of business and financial services for CSU argued that because the university is a business enterprise under TABOR, that it should be considered an independent business subject to the false claims act; however, the enterprise status does not change that the university is controlled by the state, and its trustees are still entitled to immunity from a false claims complaint when the United States declined to intervene to prosecute the claim. Judge Jackson.

2014.02.27 – Colo. Airport Parking_ LLC v. Dep_t of Aviation

The Court of Appeals remands the state court decision back to the hearing officer directing him to determine how the aviation department calculated that the park and ride airport parking companies should be charged 8 percent of their revenues as fees for using the airport facilities. (The parking companies did not appeal their previous argument that the charge was really an improper tax.) Judges Richman, Graham and Navarro.

2013.11.21 – Todd Creek Vill. Metro. Dist. v. Valley Bank & Trust Co

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, finding that the special district had the authority to enter into the promissory note, and voters approved a ballot issue relating to its agreements and loans with the bank. (Not directly on point – it references a TABOR case: a rigid interpretation of TABOR goes too far if it has the effect of reducing government services.)

2013.05.28 – Lobato v. State

The Supreme Court grants the state government entities’ appeal and reverses the state court’s ruling that the public school financing system was unconstitutional, finding that the system complies with the constitution because it is rationally related to the mandate to provide a thorough and uniform system of public education, and local school districts have control over locally raised funds and instruction within the public schools.


2012.07.30 – Kerr v. Hickenlooper_ (Overturned by 10th Circuit in 2016, above)

The federal court denied the state’s motion to dismiss the representative’s claims, alleging that TABOR improperly diluted legislators’ powers and authority in a representative republic, ruling that the legislators had standing to bring the case because removal of a core legislative power of the general assembly sufficiently alleges a concrete, institutional injury. Judge Martinez.


2012.03.15 – Colo. Ethics Watch v. Clear the Bench Colo.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the administrative law judge’s ruling that a judge retention committee is a political committee subject to constitutional contribution limits under Colorado campaign finance laws because a judge seeking retention is a candidate for election. (TABOR was referenced as a ballot issue distinguishable from the judicial retention issue that is placed on the ballot.) Judge Bernard.


2011.10.31 – Huber v. Colo. Mining Ass_n

The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals, finding that statewide voter approval is not required when the department of revenue implements quarterly adjustments to the tax due per ton of coal extracted from Colorado lands. Judge Hobbs, with Coats and Eid dissenting and finding that TABOR does apply to prevent the tax rate hikes without voter approval.


2011.06.23 – Hotaling v. Hickenlooper

The Court of Appeals affirmed the state court in dismissing the taxpayer’s challenge of an agreement between the department of health and family planning services that provide abortions, arguing that the constitution prohibits the use of public funds for abortions. However, the taxpayer’s challenge as a Colorado taxpayer does not confer on him standing to challenge the expenditure of federal funds in this case. Judge Jones; Roy and Loeb concur.


2011.06.23 – Hotaling v. Hickenlooper

The Supreme Court affirmed the Title Board’s decision finding that the health insurance initiative complied with the constitution because it contained only one subject, and it was clearly expressed – preserving individuals’ rights to choose their own health care arrangements. (TABOR cases were cited where certain phrases had been approved.) Judge Hobbs, but Judge Mullarkey and Martinez dissent, indicating catch phrases are prohibited by TABOR.


2010.05.11 – Trs. of the Springs Transit Co. Emples. Ret. & Disability Plan v. City of Colo. Springs

The federal court grants a stay of discovery in this pension benefits case, alleging that the Springs Transit Company Employee’s Retirement and Disability Plan is underfunded and seeking a declaration that the city may not lawfully assume sponsorship of the plan under TABOR, ruling that discovery should be postponed until the motion to remand the case back to state court is resolved in order to conserve judicial economy. Judge Shaffer.


2009.03.16 – Mesa County Bd. of County Comm_rs v. State

The Colorado Supreme Court overturned the ruling of the state court, finding that amendments to the Colorado School Finance Act were constitutional, allowing local school district to collect and expend revenues of $117 million in excess of the property tax revenue limitations. Article X does not require additional voting to approve the use of revenue received, and its limitation on the growth of government need not be applied in interpreting the school finance statute. The trial court failed to apply the Barber case standard giving statutes a presumption of validity unless proved otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt. A tax change policy causing a net tax revenue gain only requires advance voter approval when the gain exceeds one of the revenue limits listed in subsection 7 of Article X, Section 20, and since the limit was already waived another election on how to use the revenue is not required. Judge Mullarkey; Coats concurs in part; Eid dissents.

2009.02.19 – Sherritt v. Rocky Mt. Fire Dist.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the administrative judge’s decision to impose a $400 fine where it was found that the fire district spent $3,500 from public funds for printing and postage costs in violation of fair campaign practices act incurred to urge voters to vote in favor of a ballot measure seeking to exclude the fire district from TABOR limitations.

2008.11.26 – Independence Inst. v. Coffman

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the Secretary of State, finding that express ballot measure advocacy may be regulated if the state has a compelling interest and the regulations are narrowly tailored; and, the court ruled that contributors to ballot measures may be constitutionally required to be disclosed. (An issue that was not before the court was the Administrative law judge’s decision in favor of the nonprofit organization that it was not an issue committee while seeking to educate the public about TABOR issues and Referenda C and D, and was not in violation of Registration and disclosure laws required of those political committees.)

2008.11.03 – Barber v. Ritter

Upon a Writ of Certiorari, the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the 3-judge panel’s previous determination on appeal of this TABOR challenge case, ruling that the taxpayers had standing to challenge fund transfers from 31 special funds. However, the transfers did not violate Amendment 1 (TABOR) and the panel erred in reversing the summary judgment entered in favor of the governor and the state treasurer on Article XI claims. The transfers did not represent a change in tax policy causing a net tax revenue gain, and they did not trigger Amendment 1’s voter approval requirement. The transfers from the special fund to the general fund did not transform these funds into taxes because the transfers did not alter the character of the monies as fees to defray the cost of particular services used by those charged; and, they did not constitute a new tax or new debt; that is, no increase in growth of government occurred and no new cash streams were created. The legislature had the authority to amend the funds held in trust to allow for the transfer of the monies to the general fund. Judge Bender, with Eid, Rice and Coats concurring.

2008.10.02 – HCA-Healthone_ LLC v. City of Lone Tree

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling in favor of the medical center, holding that the city could not collect a retroactive use fee on the center based on an ordinance that was passed in 2006. The taxpayer approval was only prospective, and the city was required to return the excess use tax collected. Judges Bernard, Jones and Plank

2008.01.24 – Lobato v. People

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the complaint, ruling in favor of the state, finding that the districts did not have standing to challenge how the general assembly appropriated state funds to finance education. Parents had standing, but their claims involved a nonjusticiable political question because fashioning the system for financing education was the proper function of the assembly and was expressly mandated by the constitution. The education clause provides no basis for judicial definition of “quality” public education, and if the Court were to try to find a definition that exercise would risk judicial intrusion into the powers and responsibilities of the assembly. Judge Webb; with Casebolt and Terry concurring.

2007.02.08 – Bruce v. Pikes Peak Library Dist.

The Colorado Court of Appeals partially reversed the El Paso state court, finding that a remand was necessary to determine if the library district made a reasonable refund under TABOR as required. The district had received voter approval in 1986 to increase the maximum tax levy for 2 to 4 mills for public library funds, even though the election occurred before TABOR was passed. Lease purchase agreements are not included as a multiple-fiscal year obligation where the parties are not bound to renew the lease annually. Equipment leases are also not contemplated because the expense of the election would exceed the value of the equipment. A substantial compliance review applies for claims to enforce election provisions, but it is not applicable for evaluating whether full refunds were given or not. Over $8,000 was excess revenue in 2003, and it should have been refunded. The case is remanded to determine if it was refunded or subsequent deductions in tax accounted for the difference to provide a reasonable refund in accordance with TABOR. Judge Casebolt, with Hawthorne and Metzger concurring.


2006.10.05 – Gresh v. Balink

The Court of Appeals affirmed the El Paso state court denying a petitioner’s request to require the election officials to evaluate public comments on proposals for relevance, ruling that the taxpayer was not entitled to declaratory relief. Election officials are not required to examine voters’ good faith or their motives in submitting comments on proposals, because freedom of speech might be prohibited by doing so, and could frustrate the purpose of ballot issue notice by depriving voters of comments necessary for them to make intelligent decisions about the measure. Judge Casebolt.

2006.06.26 – City of Golden v. Parker

The Colorado Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals, ruling that the developers had vested contractual rights which could not be annulled by the amendment requiring voter approval of new grants of development subsidies or incentives, pursuant to the fairness doctrine inherent in the prohibition against retroactive legislation. Multiple fiscal year obligations that are not financial and which are not contingent on the borrowing of funds, or the pledge of credit, or any payments where funds are not available do not require voter approval, yet this lack of financial rights does not prevent the vesting of contractual rights established in the agreements. Judge Mullarkey

2006.06.12 – Gonzalez-Estay v. Lamm (In re Title & Ballot Title & Submission Clause for 2005­2006 #55.

The Colorado Supreme Court reversed the action of the Ballot Title Board, in this original action brought by a taxpayer regarding an initiative to prohibit the state and local governments from provided non-emergency services to illegal immigrants. The initiative fails because it involves more than one purpose — restricting access to services and eliminating expenditures on the targeted group –, and the initiative failed to inform voters of the services its passage would affect.

2006.06.01 – Taxpayers Against Congestion v. Reg_l Transp. Dist.

The Court of Appeals dismissed a taxpayer organization’s appeal where an election proceeded with the allegedly tainted ballot issue notice, and the subject Referendum 4A passed, making the appeal moot.

2006.05.30 – Ausfahl v. Caldara (In re Title for 2005-2006 _ 74)

The Colorado Supreme Court reversed the action of the Title Board, finding that the initiative address multiple subjects in violation of TABOR, including time limits for tax measure, time limits for public debt authorization and time limits for voter authorized relief for spending limits. These areas could not be included in one subject titled time limits, and could not stand. Judge Rice, with Judge Eid dissenting.

2006.05.22 – In re Title_ Ballot Title & Submission Clause_ & Summary #73

The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the Title Board’s finding that the text of the initiative contained only one general subject, where it sought to eliminate contributions made to issue committees supporting TABOR ballot measures by those who might gain from the passage of the measure. The initiative has a single purpose, and enforcement mechanisms described in relation to that purpose do not constitute a separate subject. Judge Rice, with Hobbs and Bender dissenting.

2006.02.16 – Fischer v. Adams County Sch. Dist. No. 12

The federal court denies the charter school’s motion to dismiss this civil rights and retaliation case where former transportation manager and executive director of the school allege they were fired for expressing concerns about the districts relationships with charter schools. The charter school alleged the officers’ contracts were voided by TABOR. The school does not establish that it is a district under TABOR, and it does not show that cash reserves were pledged for future fiscal years, requiring voter approval of the contracts. The school has failed to show that the protected speech was not the motivating factor in the former employees’ firings, so dismissal at this stage is not warranted.

2005.12.15 – Bruce v. City of Colo. Springs

The Court of Appeals affirmed the state court’s ruling in favor of the city, ruling against the taxpayer’s claims that a street light charge and a cable charge were taxes imposed in violation of TABOR. The street light service charge was a special fee reasonably related to the overall cost of providing the city’s streetlights. The cable bill charges represented the cable company’s cost of doing business with the city. Thus, the charges were not taxes, making TABOR inapplicable.

2005.04.07 – Colo. Crim. Justice Reform Coalition v. Ortiz

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s finding that the prison-related petitioners failed to establish that the prison initiative violated TABOR requirements. HB-1256 involved one single subject, albeit describes two projects within that subject regarding the use of lease purchase agreements to fund the projects; and, the contracts were not multi-year contracts requiring prior voter approval because renewal year to year was not required. Judge Casebolt, Dailey and Plank.

2005.01.10 – Bd. of Assessment Appeals v. Sampson

The Colorado Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeals’ decision that reversed the Board of Assessment, in the end holding that the established precedent is that a taxpayer must only prove an assessment was incorrect to prevail at a board of assessment hearing, he is not required to provide an alternate valuation himself. TABOR has not increased the taxpayer’s burden. Judge Martinez.

2004.10.21 – Thorpe v. State

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment finding that the state is required to refund excess revenue under TABOR. To avoid income tax implications the state divided up the refund and gave a portion of sales tax collected to full-year residents. The rational basis test supported paying full time residents a refund first because they paid the most tax and proportional refunds to every taxpayer were not feasible. Any incidental discrimination to lower the sales tax rate for full year residents as compared to nonresident or part time residents was justified and does not defeat the otherwise legitimate purpose of the refund statutes.

2004.06.28 – Owens v. Colo. Cong. of Parents

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the Colorado Opportunity Contract Pilot Program is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt because it violates the local control provisions of Article IX of the constitution. To preserve the democratic character of school districts, local school districts must retain control over locally raised funds. In contrast, the Pilot Program directs local school districts to give up a portion of that control. Judge Bender en banc.


2004.06.14 – Cacioppo v. Eagle County Sch. Dist. Re-5OJ

The Colorado Supreme Court affirms the trial court’s ruling (on different grounds) ruling that the voter’s claims, alleging that the election approving cost of living raises to school district personnel, should be overturned because the ballot measure was in violation of TABOR, were time barred. The statute requires that objections to elections should be filed within 10 days of when the election returns are filed. Judge Kourlis, en banc court.

2003.09.08 – Campbell v. Hobbs (In re Title_ Ballot Title and Submission

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that four initiatives be returned, overturning the Title Board’s decisions relating to them, finding that the provision preventing attorneys from serving on a board of a committee for an initiative or a referendum improperly limited the substantive

political rights of attorneys.

2003.03.27 – Colo. Common Cause v. Coffman

The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Administrative Law Judge, finding that the state treasurer had violated the fair campaign practices act by spending more than $50 of public funds by urging the defeat of a proposed amendment at a press conference – Amendment 23 requires the state to set aside certain revenues each fiscal year for the state education fund. J. Jones, Davidson and Kapelke.

2002.04.08 – In re Title v. Respondents_ Dennis Polhill & Douglas Ca

The Colorado Supreme Court reverses and remands two initiatives #43 and #45, finding they are unconstitutional because they include more than a single purpose, and voters would be surprised to learn that by voting for local tax cuts, they also required the reduction and possible elimination of state programs; however, hidden subjection is not permitted. Judge Rice.

2002.02.14 – Olson v. City of Golden

The Colorado Court of Appeals affirms the judgment of the district court against the voter seeking to enforce the Urban Renewal Law, ruling that the voter did not have standing to enforce the law and did not suffer an injury in fact. Also, the Golden urban renewal authority is not a local government with authority to levy taxes or conduct elections, and therefore not subject to TABOR.

2001.12.03 – Lawley v. Dep_t of Higher Educ.

The Colorado Supreme Court reversed the Colorado Court of Appeals, finding that the evidence supported the conclusion that a supervisor protected two male employees by forcing the layoff of the female employee who was highly paid. The employer’s decision to abolish the employee’s position was arbitrary and capricious because it failed to give candid consideration to the Chiefs alternative proposal of restructuring the department without laying off the female employee. (The University had determined to restructure because there was a decline in enrollment for the third academic year in 1996 – 1997, and because of the requirements of TABOR, funding received from the state legislature was affected.) The finding of the personnel board was reinstated in the Court of Appeals was reversed; finding that the University was motivated by gender when it abolished Lawley’s position and its actions were arbitrary and capricious.

2001.02.05 – Writ of Cert revoked re City of Broomfield (self-explanatory)

2000.06.05 – E-470 Pub. Highway Auth. v. 455 Co._ 3 P.3d 18

the Colorado Supreme Court reversed the Colorado Court of Appeals, remanding the case for new trials to determine how much the highway authority should pay the landowners for condemning their property for rights-of-way so that they did not recover an amount greater than the loss they suffered. The court found that the trial court abused its discretion in excluding evidence showing a double recovery by the landowners. Judge Rice, en banc.

2000.04.13 – TCI Satellite Entertainment_ Inc. v. Board of Equalization

the Colorado Court of Appeals reversed the taxing agencies exemption order, which did not

apply in this case. TABOR business personal property tax exemptions do not apply in this case.

1999.11.12 – Board of Comm_rs v. City of Broomfield

the Colorado Court of Appeals reversed the Boulder court’s judgment, finding that the Boulder city Council and its urban renewal authority did not have standing under Tabor because it had not suffered an injury in fact because the board of commissioners would not be deprived of any property tax revenues.

1999.11.01 – BRUCE v. Hobbs (In re TITLE_ BALLOT TITLE & SUBMISSION

the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the title Board’s refusal to set a title because the petitioners

initiative unconstitutionally covered more than one subject. En Banc.

1999.04.23 – Submission of Interrogatories on House Bill 99-1325_ 97

The Colorado Supreme Court granted the general assembly’s request to answers questions, finding that the transportation revenue anticipation notes did not constitute a debt by loan, but were a multiple fiscal year direct or indirect district debt or other financial cost that did require prior voter approval. The state is receiving money form of a loan in the state is pledging its credit or more than one year; therefore the voters would reasonably expect that a borrowing of this magnitude should be submitted to them for their approval under Tabor.

1999.03.23 – Marcus v. Department of Revenue_ 170 F.3d 1305

the 10th circuit court reversed the Kansas federal court’s decision to dismiss the case, and remanded for further proceedings, because the charges that the agency imposed regulatory fees, not taxes. Thus, the federal court had jurisdiction to resolve the action about whether the imposition of a fee for parking placards and individual identification card violated the Americans with disabilities.

1998.07.09 – Freedom Newspapers v. Tollefson_ 961 P.2d 1150

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the newspaper, ruling that the custodian of the employment programmer had to release the records pursuant to the Colorado open records act. The custodian’s reliance on Tabor is misplaced because the business enterprise exemption does not affect any obligation under the open records act.

1998.07.06 – Rice v. Brandon (In re Title_ Ballot Title & Submission

the Supreme Court of Colorado affirms the action of the board in setting titles and summaries for the proposed initiatives, finding again registered electors, finding that the initiative did not violate the single-subject requirement of Tabor. The two steps described in the initiative did not comprise two subjects – assessing fees on trust land water, and then allocating those fees for school financing.

1998.06.29 – Phillips v. Buckley (In re Title_ Ballot Title & Submissions

The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the title board in refusing to set a title for a proposed constitutional amendment concerning the elimination of limitations on funding for public schools, without prior voter approval. The proponents of the initiative failed to properly incorporate the proposed changes into the title, and the court affirmed the action of the board.

1998.06.08 – Outcelt v. Bruce

The Colorado Supreme Court reversed the title board’s action, finding that the initiatives — that would have been Tabor to lower various state and local taxes and require the state to replace local revenue loss– violated the single subject requirement of the state Constitution. The matter was remanded to the board to strike the title, ballot tile, submission clause, and summary- and return the initiative to their proponents.

1998.05.14 – Denver Ass_n of Educ. Office Personnel v. School Dist

the Colorado Court of Appeals reverses the trial court’s ruling which denied the school district’s motion for summary judgment, finding summary judgment should have entered against the education office, which was not entitled to damages for the alleged breach of a collective bargaining agreement. It was against public policy to refuse to reopen negotiations requested by the school district due to an unexpected fall in revenue caused by application of the TABOR amendment, and by doing so the education office waived its rights and was required to abide by the salary determinations.

1998.04.16 – Property Tax Adjustment Specialists v. Mesa County Bd. of Comm_rs_ 956 P.2d 1277

The Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed the board’s denial of the taxpayer’s petition for abatement of taxes. The four year TABOR statute of limitation did not apply because the taxpayer’s claim arose from an error in classifying its property and not from a violation of the constitutional provision. Therefore, the taxpayer’s claims for an improperly assessed tax were barred as being untimely.

1998.04.06 – Romer v. Board of County Comm_rs

The Supreme Court of Colorado reversed the Court of Appeals and directed that the trial court’s ruling be reinstated, which dismissed the county’s case. The county does not have standing to compel the state(Dept. of Human Services, which is superior) to reduce statewide social services expenditures, there being no such express legislative intent for such review.

1997.04.03 – Board of County Comm_rs v. Fixed Base Operators

The Court of Appeals affirmed the state court’s denial of a preliminary injunction requested by an airport terminal operator, who claimed that the financing plan for a new terminal was illegal. The operation was a governmental enterprise authorized under Tabor, and its authority was not an improper grant. The fees were like user fees, and were not county revenues.

1996.09.23 – Havens v. Board of County Comm_rs_ 924 P.2d 517

The Colorado Supreme Court upheld retention and expenditure of excess revenues by the county because it had obtained voter approval under Tabor; and the petitioner’s request that the excess be paid as voter refunds was denied.

1996.05.28 – Zaner v. City of Brighton

The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals, finding that the city had authority to hold a special election in the citizens’ suit against the city challenging the authority, and that TABOR did not restrict dates when those elections could be held because it applied to increasing debt issues, spending or taxes – not to all issues regardless of subjection matter like dates of elections.

1996.05.13 – Court v. Pool (In re Initiative 1996-4)_ 916 P.2d 528

The Colorado Supreme Court approved the Title Board’s refusal to set the initiative because it

violated the single subjection requirement of the constitution – covering subjects ranging from property valuation process to elections to emergency taxes. Limiting government

spending generally was too broad and did not meet the single subject requirement.

1996.04.01 – City of Wheat Ridge v. Cerveny_ 913 P.2d 1110

The Colorado Supreme Court reversed the lower court, finding that the taxpayers are not automatically entitled to attorney’s fees because they successfully enjoined the city from proceeding with a special election. Attorney’s fees are allowed, not mandated, and they should be scrutinized.

1995.12.18 – In re Title_ Ballot Title & Submission Clause_ 908 P.2d

The Colorado Supreme Court approved the Title Board’s action for the proposed initiative proposing the application of a tax credit, finding that it related to a singly definite subject or purpose, and was not in violation of the constitution.

1995.11.24 – Denver Classroom Teachers Ass_n v. School Dist. No. 1

The Court of Appeals affirmed the district’s construction that the statute was not unconstitutional special legislation; salaries and benefits had to be an available option when either party made a request under the teachers’ collective bargaining agreement.


1995.08.14 – Buckley v. Regents, following Regents of Univ. of Colo. v. Meyer Writ of Certiorari denied.

1995.07.19 – In re TITLE

The Colorado Supreme Court reversed the board’s decision and directed the initiative, proposing a new subsection to TABOR, to be returned because it did not meet the single subject requirement – proposing both tax credits and procedures for adopting future initiatives.

1995.06.19 – Bolt v. Arapahoe County Sch. Dist. No. Six

The Colorado Supreme Court reversed only the lower court’s ruling as to the asbestos statutes and regarding the disability in this taxpayer suit challenging the validity of the school district’s mill levy imposed without voter approval of all parts. The ADA levy was imposed before TABOR was enacted on November 4, 1992, so voter approval was not required for this levy.

1995.06.05 – State ex rel. Norton v. Board of County Comm_rs

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that a county had a continuing duty to provide courthouses and court services , and that TABOR did not relieve the county from this responsibility, and the sheriff’s providing security was not subject to reduction or termination under TABOR. Mandamus was issued.

1995.05.15 – Nicholl v. E-470 Pub. Highway Auth.

The Colorado Supreme Court found that debt and revenue expenditures prior to the effective date

of TABOR were not subject to it, and it rejected the appellate court’s enterprise analysis.

1995.02.23 – Bingo Games Supply Co. v. Meyer

The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the bingo and raffle law, finding

the assessment was a fee, not a tax.

1995.02.09 – Regents of Univ. of Colo. v. Meyer_ 899 P.2d 316.pdf

Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s findings that references in the university newsletter conformed to the campaign reform act, which created an exemption in situations in which a policy maker responded to a specific inquiry; and, there was no evidence that the amount spend exceeded the allowed $50.

1994.11.03 – Board of County Comm_rs v. Dougherty_ Dawkins_ Strand &

Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the county, finding that a lease purchase agreement did not violate TABOR because it did not require funds to appropriated, and did not obligate any future tax revenues for payment and there was no remedy against the county for failure to perform.

1994.09.22 – Campbell v. Meyer

The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal o the basis that the issues were moot because the

measure had been defeated by the voters, so any controversy did not matter any longer.


1994.09.12 – Bickel v. City of Boulder_ 885 P.2d 215

The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the trial court, dismissing the taxpayers’ claims against the school district and the county because those measures substantially complied with TABOR, but reversed the city’s proposal to raise ad valorem property taxes because it did not comply with TABOR and was invalid – requiring the latter to be severed from the measure.


1994.04.18 – In re Title_ Ballot Title _ Submission Clause_ _ Summary Pertaining to the Proposed Tobacco Tax

The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed an initiative that proposed to repeal the state sales and use tax, increase the state tax and allow municipalities to set their own cigarette and tobacco taxes, finding that the board complied with the provision of TABOR.

1993.05.06 – Submission of Interrogatories on Senate Bill 93-74_ 852

The Colorado Supreme Court answered questions for the general assembly, answering that the state lottery proceeds were subject to TABOR limitations; and the general assembly could not enact limitations on revenues collected by the limited gaming control commission. The general practical advisability of controlling revenues in order to avoid the necessity of refunding moneys to taxpayers cannot be elevated and transformed into a source of power to infringe upon the authority expressly granted to the Commission by the limited gaming amendment. In order to comply with TABOR revenues collected can be reduced elsewhere or the surplus can be refunded to taxpayers.