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Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, also known as TABOR, helps keep state spending in check and helps keeps our economy strong by permitting voters the opportunity to approve any proposed tax increases or any new, excessive fees. Protecting TABOR is vital in maintaining a strong economy here in Colorado as well as ensuring that voters have a voice in the process, and Coloradans overwhelmingly agree.
In fact, over 70% of Coloradans support their right to vote on tax increases.
With this Toolkit, you can tell your elected officials that they should stand on the side of Coloradans in their support for transparency and accountability and #ProtectTABOR.
TABOR protects Colorado taxpayers by helping to keep spending in check by promoting transparency and accountability in government.
Coloradans deserve a vote, especially when it comes to spending, and TABOR protects the voice of the people and their right to vote on proposed tax increases.
TABOR helps ensure that Colorado’s economy is consistently amongst the strongest in the nation by promoting responsible and sustainable spending.
Most importantly, TABOR requires that before government can raise taxes Colorado voters have a voice in the process. This means that before government can raise taxes, take on debt, or spend any excess revenue above the TABOR Revenue Limit, they must put forth a proposal for Colorado voters to approve.
TABOR also places reasonable limits on the growth of government, debt, and spending. This formula is based on the previous year’s budget, plus population growth and inflation, so as our population grows, government can grow along with it. But when it does, TABOR helps ensure that it does so responsibly.
It also requires that any revenue collected above the TABOR Revenue Limit, those funds be returned to the people in the form of a TABOR refund, unless the voters approve otherwise. In fact, since 1993, TABOR has returned over $3 billion to Colorado taxpayers.
Despite its overwhelming support, politicians and special interests have worked tirelessly to circumvent TABOR by utilizing various loopholes to raise taxes and increase spending with the approval of Colorado voters. The most common is known as the “fee loophole”. Because TABOR exempts State Enterprises from the TABOR Revenue Limit, politicians have been able to classify these new taxes as “fees” in order to increase state spending without the approval of Colorado voters.
We’ve seen this with the FASTER Fees in 2009 that dramatically increased car registration fees and the Hospital Provider Fee in 2016, which created a hidden tax on hospitals. Just these two enterprises alone generate hundreds of millions of dollars at the expense of hard-working Coloradans.
In November of 2020, Coloradans overwhelmingly voted to help close this loophole with the passage of Proposition 117, which allows voters the opportunity to approve any new state enterprises that are projected to generate $100 million or more in its first five years. This is vital because over the last 27 years, “fees” in Colorado have skyrocketed.
When TABOR limits were implemented in 1993, 46% of our state budget was exempted from it. Now, nearly 70% of our budget is exempt. This is about sensible spending, protecting your hard-earned tax dollars, and living within our means. Our state budget is already more than $30 billion.
We don’t have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem, and by protecting TABOR, we can help protect Colorado taxpayers and keep spending in check.
Myth: TABOR harms funding for essential services such as roads and education.
Fact: TABOR protects Colorado by ensuring responsible spending. Every year, the state takes hundreds of millions of dollars that are supposed to go to school districts and transportation and spends it on other things, including their own pet projects. Now, lawmakers are trying to fill these “gaps” by keeping more of our hard-earned money instead of truly prioritizing our needs as a state.
Myth: Colorado voters never approve tax increases.
Fact: Colorado voters have approved multiple tax increases, including Amendment 64 in 2012 (Marijuana), Proposition DD in 2018 (Online Sports Betting) and Proposition EE in 2020 (Tobacco). It’s up to our legislators to put forth a responsible and transparent plan for the voters to approve instead of trying to take advantage of loopholes to take more of our hard-earned money.
Myth: Our population has exploded, and TABOR doesn’t allow us to grow as a state.
Fact: TABOR does allow us to grow, but it ensures that as we do, we do so responsibly. Our state budget already is already more than $30 billion. Politicians need to spend our tax dollars smarter before we raise taxes and increase spending without voter approval.
Email your elected officials to tell them that they should stand on the side of Coloradans in their support for transparency and accountability and #ProtectTABOR.
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TABOR is under threat from lawmakers that want to raise taxes without a vote of the people. Our elected officials should stand on the side of Colorado taxpayers and #ProtectTABOR!
Politicians want to look for loopholes to raise fees on hard-working Coloradans without a vote. Tell your elected officials that TABOR is vital for Colorado and to protect your right to vote on new fees and #ProtectTABOR!
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