BY WILLIAM M. BANTA
You may recall that the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (“TABOR”) took effect in Colorado 30 years ago. Because Colorado government would not stop over-taxing and spending, the voters employed their prerogative and took taxing power away from Colorado government by adding TABOR to the Colorado Constitution. From then on, voter permission has been required before government can raise taxes, increase revenue, or expand spending.
In Colorado, the TABOR amendment is an up-to-date model of democracy. That is to say, it is the people of Colorado governing themselves directly when elected representatives do not properly govern.
So important are TABOR rights that voters prioritize the amendment stating in the amendment that TABOR constitutionally supersedes any conflicting Colorado law. In other words, TABOR is paramount and is not to be “balanced,” compromised, or otherwise weakened.
The constitutional amendment is the voters telling their government that new taxes require their express voted consent, no if’s, and’s, or but’s. In that respect, TABOR’s seriousness is reflective of Magna Charta, which English King John signed on my birthdate (June 15) in 1215 A.O., establishing basic English rights and liberties. Magna Charta is credited with the idea that the rule of law stands above the government
Furthermore, voters mandated that TABOR’s constitutional meaning is one which most hinders the growth of government. Thereby, voters instruct that Colorado government is not to be a growth industry fueled by monies taken from taxpayers without their consent.
Unsurprisingly, other states envy TABOR’s achievement when they hear about it and how it works. These are fitting reasons for Coloradoans to celebrate TABOR’s 30th anniversary.
Therefore, in Lakewood this Saturday the 14th of January, 2023, there will be a 30th Birthday Party for TABOR with drinks, politics, food, networking, and dessert. If you prefer, you can just have dessert. Venue is Rockleys Event Center, which is located at 8555 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood. The price of an admission ticket amounts to $8.15, highlighting the fact that TABOR has required the return to Colorado taxpayers of over $8,150,000,000 so far. (The monies repaid to taxpayers came from government overtaxing, over-collecting, or over-retaining what legally belonged to taxpayers, thanks to TABOR.)
A final word, while Coloradoans celebrate TABOR and freedom from taxation without authorization, the government is of another mind. By and large, Colorado government has been unfriendly to TABOR and presumes, by an artful choice of words, to do indirectly what TABOR forbids it from doing. The General Assembly has been subverting TABOR by devising ways to fund political programs, pet projects, and other spending for which voters will not increase taxes. To pull that off, the General Assembly has begun deploying a menagerie of what it likes to call “fees” instead of “taxes.” The manifold sorts, types, kinds, amounts, connections, and guises of the government’s enterprising new “fee” revenue scheme warrants the citizens’ attention. In the meantime, Colorado taxpayers and voters celebrate their Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and the rule of law.
BY WILLIAM M. BANTA