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House Debates TABOR Recalculation

Mar 8, 2017

A Republican proposal to change how the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) is calculated to let Colorado keep more of the tax money it currently collects received initial approval in the House Tuesday. More Democrats back the bill than Republicans.

TABOR – as it’s most commonly known – limits the growth of government to inflation plus population increases. Any tax money the state collects that is higher than that limit must be refunded to voters. House bill 1187 would instead base that limit on personal income growth, thereby tying it more closely to the overall economy.

“We don’t have enough for transportation,” said sponsor Republican Representative Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction. “We don’t have enough for education, but yet we’re turning around and giving a big chunk of money back.”

The state’s next budget is projecting a several hundred million dollar TABOR refund. His colleague – Republican Lois Landgraf of Fountain, supports the bill and said taxpayers wouldn’t miss a $45 TABOR refund.

“People don’t even know that they have it, what they do know is that we have roads that are falling apart,” Landgraf said. “We have other services that are in desperate need of funding. They know that. And that’s what upsets them.”

Other Republicans oppose the bill, arguing that it amounts to a tax increase. If it clears the legislature, voters would have the final say at the ballot box.