2019 Leg Session, Exclusives, Featured, Gold Dome, Politics, TABOR, Taxes

Effort to permanently end Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights refunds headed to legislature

DENVER — House and Senate Democrats — along with one Republican — are preparing to introduce a bill that would ask Colorado voters to do away with their own potential tax refunds.

Rep. KC Becker, D-Boulder

The bill — which has not been released to the public yet — would dismantle a significant element of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) by permanently eliminating the tax refunds that are automatic if the state exceeds a preset cap on revenue.

In addition to requiring voter consent on new taxes and debt, TABOR limits the growth of a portion of the state budget to a formula of population growth plus inflation. The bill would remove that limit by allowing the state to keep and spend revenue that would otherwise be refunded back to taxpayers.

TABOR, a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1992, has been widely popular among Coloradans. Recent polling shows 71 percent support for TABOR among Colorado voters.

The bill would need to be sent to the voters for approval.

There is also a citizen-led effort to take a complete repeal of TABOR to the voters that was recently shot down by the Title Board.

“It’s clear what is happening here,” House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, said in a news release. “Democrats can’t pay for all of their empty promises made in the last election, so now they want to permanently eliminate your tax refunds to pay for their expensive programs. It is egregious that the Democrats want to forever take away your consent on what is done with your tax dollars.”

Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Adams County

Assistant House Minority Leader Kevin Van Winkle, R-Douglas County agreed: “Our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is an important safeguard against government overreach,” Van Winkle said in the news release. The Democrats say they need more money to fund their projects, yet we had a billion-dollar surplus last year and another $1.2 billion-dollar surplus this year. Apparently, more is never enough.”

The bill is expected to be sponsored in the House by KC Becker, R-Boulder and Lois Court, D-Denver in the Senate, with one Republican expected to co-sponsor in the Senate, Kevin Priola, R-Adams County.

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