2021 Leg Session, Columnists, Featured, Jon Caldara, Politics, Proposition 117

Caldara: The systemic oppression of Colorado taxpayers

Since the concepts of systematic racism and critical race theory are being shoved down our throats via Hollywood, public schools and the media, it’s time to teach the real racism in Colorado — systemic racism against taxpayers.

The concept of systemic oppression is, of course, that the privileged white man has created the laws, courts and culture to always favor him at the expense of people of color without their consent.

The concept of systemic oppression against taxpayers is the same. The progressive left in Colorado has perverted the laws, courts and media culture to favor ever-increasing revenue to the government at the expense of taxpayers against their consent.

I hope by now we all are aware of the Colorado Supreme Court’s imitation of the “Dred Scott” decision institutionalizing the bigotry against taxpayers. This is their pronouncement twisting the plain words of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, ruling that by labeling any tax increase a “fee” it can be forced without voter consent.

This ruling was built on the court’s previous proclamation that a government debt increase needs no voter consent if merely labeled a “certificate of participation.”

Now, just because the bigoted court opened this legal gate for lawmakers to take from others without their permission, it doesn’t mean they need to walk through it. But charge through the gate they did.

The mill levy freeze (a property tax increase), the “faster” fee (a tax increase on every car, truck and trailer), and the “hospital provider” fee (a tax increase on your stay in the hospital) were quickly dispatched against taxpayers without a vote for the sole reason that lawmakers knew you would say no.

Contemplate that. Knowing full well voters would say no to these schemes, Colorado government did it anyway. What the hell does that say about the people who represent, and supposedly respect, us?

Try this thought experiment. A slave is forced against his will to give 100% of his labor and production to his master. If a person is forced to give 50%, does that make him a half-slave? This is why direct consent from taxpayers is crucial. (By the way, the average American pays 30% of their earnings in federal taxes alone before the state and localities push it closer to 50%)

Coloradans were so angered by the institutionalized “fee” work-around they passed Prop 117 last year. It requires any large tax disguised as a “fee” go to them for permission.

So, the systematic racists in the legislature this year passed a gas tax by splitting it up into four different “fees” to keep it under the cap required for voter approval.

Ben Murrey, fiscal policy analyst at the Independence Institute, added up the new “revenue” increases from the bills passed in this 2021 session. It comes out to over $600 million a year. That’s over $430 for a family of four. It’s enough to give every public-school teacher an $11,000 raise. All without asking you first.

To take back what the legislature just took from us in this session alone we’d have to lower the state income tax by about 6%.

But even trying to lower taxes to return what was taken shows the systemic oppression against taxpayers.

The state can go to the ballot any year they want to ask for a tax increase. But they passed a law saying we citizens can only put a tax decrease initiative on even-numbered years.

Two-to-one advantage to the racists. Oh, and we have to collect some 125,000 valid signatures, and they don’t.

As if that weren’t enough systemic prejudice, newly passed HB-1321 requires a long, scary preamble be placed on the ballot in front of any tax cut measure to frighten voters into a “no” vote.

It falsely claims that voting for the tax reduction will cripple education and health care and kill old ladies. Like the warning on a cigarette pack, it basically says “voting for this tax cut causes cancer and deformities in infants.”

No such warnings required when they ask for a tax hike. In fact, the legislature gets to write their own flowery ballot language. We citizens must go to the government’s “title board” and they write our ballot language.

We can’t stop the systemic oppression until YOU see it. #TPM (Tax Payers Matter)

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

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