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CO Republicans Take City, Democrats for Election Year TABOR Cash Back Game

Colorado Republicans are attacking a cash donation program created by Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) and other Democrats, calling it an effort to buy votes in an election year.

In a press release Wednesday, Republican candidate for Governor Heidi Ganal called the move “the height of hypocrisy” after Democrats have tried to repeal TABOR for years.

“Election Year Jared would like us to believe he is saving Coloradans money. In fact, Jared Polis is trying to use your money to buy votes for his re-election,” he said. “Let’s be clear, that’s YOUR $750, not his to pay back.”

The program, which would issue $750 checks to tax-filing Colorado citizens, operates under the auspices of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). The government website notes that TABOR is a state constitutional amendment enacted by voters in 1992 that “limits the amount of revenue that the State of Colorado can retain and spend.” Adds:

Specifically, TABOR allows the state to retain and spend an amount based on the prior fiscal year’s actual revenue or cap, whichever is lower, increased by inflation and Colorado’s population growth and adjusted for any “revenue changes authorized by the voters”.

Any excess revenue must be repaid through TABOR rebate programs. Until recently, there were only three programs:

  • Estate tax exemption for veterans with service-connected disabilities
  • Temporary reduction of the tax rate from 4.55% to 4.50%.
  • A complex sales tax refund mechanism.

Republican and current CU regent Heidi Ganahl announced, on Rosie’s Diner, that she will run for governor of Colorado on September 14, 2021 at Monument, Colorado. (RJ Sangosti/the Denver Post)

The property tax exemption for seniors and qualifying veterans with service-connected disabilities is for 50 percent of the first $200,000 of their primary residence. The following two programs, which are activated after the estate tax exemption, are linked to the individual’s tax contribution in that year, in particular the income tax reduction. The six-tier sales tax refund — which is based on a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income — is much more proportional to the amount the person paid than the equal rebates under the latest “Colorado Cashback” program passed by Democrats in state legislature and undersigned in law by the City in May. The is awarding $750 checks to Colorado residents regardless of income, while joint taxpayers will receive $1,500 checks.

Colorado politics mentionted that “most of the refund would have returned to taxpayers through the sales tax mechanism, which is based on income,” had the new program not been enacted. Polis says taxpayers will still see “some money” through the sales tax refund next year.

On Friday, Breitbart News spoke with its president TABOR Committee and former Rep. Penn Pfiffner (R-23) on the newest program and the radical collectivist nature of equal disbursements.

“The decision to send back a fixed amount is a way of redistributing income and wealth.” said Pfiffner, who in the 1980s served as a regional coordinator in the effort to bring TABOR to fruition. “These people who didn’t even have a $750 tax liability to the state will get $750 back. Those who put in much more will only get $750, so the proportionality is off. It redistributes income, and that’s very much in line with what progressives would like.”

Accompanying the rebate checks is a letter from the City, in which he himself dubbings the cashing of the “Colorado Cashback” check — which Axios Denver called “gaslighting” — and fails to mention TABOR, which pushed voters to cut back sharply in 2019 through a ballot initiative called CC proposal. The proposal would have done away with overcollection rebates and allowed the government to keep any excess revenue collected, which would have been used for education and transportation projects.

In an article he wrote about Denver Post before the vote, City He wrote partially:

Now we have a new opportunity, without raising taxes, to better fund our roads: Proposition CC. I support Proposition CC so our state can start fixing things. Proposition CC requires Colorado to spend the tax revenue it already collects on education and transportation without raising taxes.

Many years ago Colorado adopted an arbitrary formula that limits our ability to make investments in things like education and transportation when economic times are good. Much has changed in thirty-plus years, and this fixed formula is now outdated and not keeping pace with the needs of our rapidly growing state.

While Polis called the program “outdated,” TABOR is designed to slow the state government’s growth in the discretion of Coloradans, who decide on tax increases at the ballot box. The proposal failed to pass, as 54% of voters voted no. Coloradans are now calling out the hypocrisy of the City and Democrats after years of trying to repeal TABOR.

Colorado politics mentionted that on Wednesday, Advance Colorado’s Michael Fields said:

Don’t be fooled when your TABOR refund check arrives in your mailbox later this month. Remember liberal lawmakers tried to take them away in 2019. Governor City and Democratic lawmakers want you to think it’s some kind of gift from them. But really, this is just an election year ploy to try to get your vote.

Pfiffner echoed a similar sentiment Friday.

“People here are talking, and even on our left-wing news program, Channel 9 … a reporter was remarking that the very people who wanted to end all restrictions on what the government can take in and spend out of what it takes in at current prices – because any price change would still have to be approved – they want to take it off and probably would, but now they’re touting the fact that there’s all this money available to send back to the people,” says Pfiffner. . “Well, it’s already the people’s money, and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is very clear on that: governments can’t exceed their revenue and spending limits – so there’s the hypocrisy.”

“I think it would be obvious to any political observer that sending money that is owed to the taxpayer without specifying that it is, indeed, the taxpayer’s money to begin with is a very political move,” he said. “And it’s meant to help the existing progressive general assembly and the sitting governor … on the ballot this fall.”

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