Colorado Republicans are attacking a money-growth program set up by Governor Jared Polis (D-CO) and other Democrats, calling it an attempt to buy votes in an election year.
In a press release Wednesday, Republican governor candidate Heidi Ganahl . said called the move “the height of hypocrisy” after Democrats tried for years to abolish TABOR.
“Election year Jared would have us believe he is saving money from Coloradans. In reality, Jared Polis is trying to use your money to buy votes for his reelection,” she said. “Let’s be clear, this is YOUR $750 dollars, not his to return.”
The program, which would give $750 checks to Coloradans filing tax returns, is being run under the auspices of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). The state website notes That TABOR is a state constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1992 that: “limits the amount of income the state of Colorado can retain and spend.” It adds:
Specifically, TABOR allows the state to retain and spend an amount based on the previous fiscal year’s actual income or cap, whichever was lower, increased by inflation and population growth in Colorado, and adjusted for any “voter-approved revenue changes.”
Any excess earnings must be repaid through TABOR discount programs. Until recently, there were only three programs:
- A property tax exemption for veterans with a service-related disability
- A temporary reduction in the income tax rate from 4.55 percent to 4.50 percent.
- A complex sales tax refund mechanism.
The property tax exemption for eligible seniors and veterans with service-related disabilities is for 50 percent of the first $200,000 of their primary residence. The next two programs, which are activated after the property tax exemption, are tied to what the individual contributed in taxes that year, specifically the income tax cut. The return of six levels of sales tax — which is based on a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income — is much more proportional to what the person paid than the equal rebates under the latest “Colorado Cashback” program launched by Democrats in the state legislature passed and signed into law in May by Polis. It will hand out $750 checks to Coloradans regardless of income, while joint tax advisers will receive $1,500 checks.
Colorado politics reported that “most of the refund would have gone back to taxpayers through the sales tax mechanism, which is income-based,” had the new program not been implemented. Polis says taxpayers will still see “some money” through the sales tax refund next year.
Breitbart News spoke with the chairman of the TABOR committee and former state representative Penn Pfiffner (R-23) on the latest program and the radical collectivist nature of equal pay.
“The decision to return a fixed amount is a way to redistribute income and wealth,” said Pfiffner, who served as regional coordinator in the 1980s to bring TABOR to fruition. “Those people who didn’t even owe $750 in taxes to the state get $750 back. Those people who put in a lot more still only get $750, so the proportionality goes out. It redistributes income, which is very much in line with what progressives would say they would like.”
The discount checks are accompanied by a letter from Polis, in which he: dubbing the payout of the “‘Colorado Cashback’ refund check” — which Axios Denver called “gaslighting” – and forget to mention TABOR, which he prompted voters to radically scale back in 2019 via a voting initiative called Proposition CC. The proposal would have ended over-collection rebates and allowed the government to keep any accumulated excess revenue, which would have to be used for education and transportation projects.
In an article he wrote for the Denver Post before the vote, Polis wrote partially:
Now we have a new opportunity, without a tax increase, 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 receives 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 right. Much has changed in over thirty years and this fixed formula is now obsolete and no longer able to meet the needs of our rapidly growing state.
— Heidi Ganahl for CO Gov (@heidiganahl) August 3, 2022
While Polis called the program “outdated,” TABOR is designed to slow state government growth at the discretion of Coloradans, who decide tax increases at the ballot box. The proposal was not adopted, with 54 percent of voters voting against. Coloradans are now evoking the hypocrisy of Polis and the Democrats after years of trying to abolish TABOR.
Colorado politics reported that on Wednesday, Michael Fields of Advance Colorado stated:
Don’t be fooled if your TABOR refund check lands in your mailbox later this month. Remember, liberal lawmakers tried to take them out in 2019. Governor Polis and Democratic legislators want you to think it’s some kind of gift from them. But really, this is just an election year gimmick to try and get your vote.
— Colorado’s TABOR Committee & TABOR Foundation (@colorado_tabor) August 4, 2022
Pfiffner reiterated a similar sentiment on Friday.
“The people here are talking, and even in our kind of left-wing news program, Channel 9 … a reporter noted that the very people who wanted to end any restriction on what the government can take out and spend on what it gets are the current rates – because any change in the rates still needs to be approved – want to take that away and probably still will, but now they are touting the fact that there is all this money available to send back to the citizens,” Pfiffner said. “Well, it’s all citizens’ money, and the taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is very clear about that: governments can’t exceed their income and spending limits – so there’s the hypocrisy.”
“I think it would be clear to any political observer that returning money owed to taxpayers without identifying that it is indeed taxpayers’ money to begin with is a very political move,” he said. “And it’s meant to help the incumbent Progressive General Assembly and the incumbent governor… in the vote this fall.”