2021 Leg Session, Columnists, Jon Caldara, Politics, TABOR, Taxes

Caldara: Legislature bypasses voters for tax-hike rampage

Let’s see if you can find a common theme of what the Colorado State legislature thinks of you and the will of the voters.

Voters soundly rejected Prop 112 which would have created large setbacks for oil and gas operations, enough to chase the industry out of Colorado.

The legislature’s and governor’s retort was to pass Senate Bill 181, which was even more brutal to Colorado’s oil and gas industry. And yes, the industry is leaving. It’s one of the reasons Colorado’s unemployment is worse than most all other states.

Just last November voters passed Prop 117 to end the legislature’s disrespectful practice of raising taxes without asking consent from you as required by our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), by labeling the tax a “fee.”

The legislature’s retort was to pass Senate Bill 260, which raises gas taxes without your consent by labeling that tax increase, wait for it, a “fee.”

This insulting sleight of hand was done by exploiting the fine print of Prop 117, which said voters need to approve any “fee” increase over $100 million a year. So, SB 260 cut their tax increase into four different “fees” with not one of them breaking that magic $100 million number. Yet, in total this bill brings in more than $200 million a without asking your permission.

And just last November voters approved Prop 116, my initiative to very mildly cut the state’s flat income tax rate to 4.55%. It won by a breathtaking 58% to 42%.

The legislature’s retort is House Bill 1311, a $270 million-a-year income tax increase without a vote of the people.

But how could they do that, any reasonable person might ask? Well, they didn’t change the tax rate. They just changed what is and isn’t taxed to fit their soak-the-rich religion.

I find it odd that liberals claim they love jobs but then attack those who create jobs.

The bill changes how people who make over $400,000 (those who hire people, often business owners) itemize their tax deductions. It limits how much people can put in their kid’s college fund and deduct it off their taxes. It forces changes to how corporations measure their profits. And it changes how capital gains are measured.

It’s also a wealth transfer from “rich” to the poor. It expands the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is a direct payment to the “poor” and it increases the child tax credit for the “poor”.

In fact, the bill raises some $270 million more in taxes a year, redistributing it from the people who make jobs to the people who want jobs.

So, think through this one with me.

In order for us to reduce income taxes by about $160 million a year, which is what our Prop 116 did, we citizens had to bring forward an initiative and gather well over 125,000 valid signatures, run a campaign and pass it at the ballot box.

In response, our progressive overlords are passing a $270 million income tax increase without collecting 125,000 valid signatures and without running a campaign to convince voters it is a good idea.

Mind you, that $270 million progressive income tax increase is in addition to the $200 million a year tax increase for “transportation” (don’t buy the lie it’s going for roads) that you are also NOT being asked consent for.

In Colorado we don’t support taxation without representation. We believe this so strongly we put the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights into our constitution guaranteeing our direct representation when increasing taxes.

This tyrannical behavior from our overlords is the kind of arrogance that caused our forefathers to dump tea in an ocean and start a revolution.

Our overlords claim that since they were elected, they have every right to run roughshod over our wallets and lives.

Thanks to a complicit and cheerleading press, many Coloradans might never understand why their pay isn’t going as far as it used to, or why they can’t find a job at all.

Or, despite the biased media, they figure it out — and after the next election it will be our overlords who are unemployed.

Time to wake up.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.

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