Colorado’s 2019 Election: Vote NO on CC
Hello! As you may or may not know, we have a vote coming up in Colorado on November 5th. The central issue on the ballot is proposition CC, and I’m here to tell you why you should vote no on CC as soon as you get your ballot. Some of you have probably been here for a long time, but I know a lot of you are newer to Colorado. I hope you’re finding it to your liking! One of the big reasons Colorado is such a nice place to live is that in 1992 we decided that taxpayers have the right to consent to taxation, and we passed into law as part of our constitution the Taxpayers Bill of Rights. Part of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR, says that the government cannot increase its spending each year by more than a certain amount, and any extra tax that they collect has to be refunded to the taxpayers. Proposition CC aims to remove the requirement that the state of Colorado refund excess taxes to the people - forever. You might find yourself saying, “But I’ve never received a tax refund anyway! Why does it matter?” Well, there is a lot of flexibility in how a “refund” can be delivered, and you’re right that the state doesn’t currently send anyone a check. Usually our refunds are received in the form of reduced taxes. In Jefferson County in particular, we have had a 2/3 reduction in residential property taxes over the last 40 years. You might find yourself saying, “but if the government says they need more money, aren’t we at risk of losing critical services if we don’t give it to them?” Well, here is a chart of year over year government spending in Colorado:
Now, I don’t know about you, but it looks to me like the government is doing pretty well for itself - they’ve gone from $9 billion in 1994 to over $40 billion in 2018 - which means they’ve more than quadrupled their spending in the last 24 years, and that is with TABOR limitations in place. How much impact would proposition CC make to the State’s budget? Well, last year our refund was about $39.5 million. That’s a drop in the bucket for people who have $40 billion to play with - but reduced tax rates sure make a difference to us. Focusing on this year, though, obscures the bigger picture: if the collection and spending limits go away, the state will start raising tax rates. Currently there is no reason for them to do this, because they would have to refund the extra taxes anyway. But the government hates having to operate within a budget, and no amount of money will satisfy their desire to spend. It is our job and our right to say “no,” and we are in danger of losing that right. There have been other times when taxpayers in Colorado have allowed the state to keep taxes in excess of TABOR limits for periods of a few years when the economy was particularly bad - the 2008 financial crisis is an example of this. However, proposition CC is different. There is no time limit. There are no boundaries or restrictions on the spending. They don’t just want more of your money: they want to take away your right to consent. Vote no on CC.