Colorado General Assembly OKs Bills Asking Voters to Give Up Their TABOR Refunds

Colorado state capitol building
Colorado state capitol building / Wikimedia Commons

Colorado voters will be asked in November for approval to allow the government to permanently keep their tax refunds provided by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights if Gov. Jared Polis signs two bills passed by the legislature Monday evening.

House Bill 1257 creates a ballot proposal asking voters to allow excess revenues that would otherwise be refunded to taxpayers to be kept by the state. The question will be on the November ballot.

House Bill 1258 allocates the excess revenue to funding higher education, public schools, and transportation if voters approve the ballot measure.

Both bills passed the Senate on third reading Monday evening. They were co-sponsored by Rep. KC Becker, D-Boulder, Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, Sen. Lois Court, D-Denver, and Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Brighton.

Fiscal conservatives say it’s just the latest attempt by Democrats to undermine TABOR.

"The bill sponsors have said that keeping our tax refunds isn’t a real funding solution for education and transportation, so this is clearly more about chipping away at the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights," said Michael Fields, executive director of the conservative advocacy group Colorado Rising Action. "We anticipate that voters will reject this tax increase on the ballot in November as we have the last several statewide tax increases."

In 2005, Colorado voters approved a similar but temporary plan allowing the state to keep refunds. It expired after five years.

Voters in November rejected proposals that would have raised taxes to fund transportation and education.

Polis is expected to sign the legislation.