TABOR in Two Minutes
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TABOR in Two Minutes

August 24, 2019

(clock ticking) – [Narrator] A lot of
Coloradans have never even heard of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights or TABOR. It was added to the Colorado
constitution in 1992 and it’s had a big impact
on how we fund schools, public safety, and roads ever since. Let’s go over the basics. Because of TABOR, Colorado is
the only state in the nation where our elected officials
cannot raise taxes without voter approval. They can’t adopt a new tax,
can’t increase a tax rate, and can’t increase the percentage
of property that is taxed without voter approval. Under TABOR, any tax policy change that results in new
revenue must go to voters. TABOR specifically limits
the types of taxes Colorado is allowed to have. TABOR specifically forbids
a graduated income tax. Before 1987, Colorado had a progressive or graduated income
tax that imposed higher marginal tax rates as income rises. This is the same system most states use and the same system the
federal government uses. TABOR also forbids a
statewide property tax, bans real estate transfer taxes, and outlaws local income taxes. TABOR also sets a limit on
how much government spending can grow each year. There is a cap and that
cap allows spending to grow by no more than inflation
and population each year. So if prices go up 2% and
population goes up 2%, spending can grow by 4%. The amount collected in taxes and fees must stay below that cap. If the government collects
more taxes and fees than the cap allows, it
returns the money above the cap to taxpayers in the form of TABOR rebates. For example, the state
exceeded the revenue cap by about $154 million dollars in 2015. The average tax payer got
about $17 back from the state. TABOR also sets rules on
how tax increase proposals are presented to voters. For example, any tax
increase on the ballot has to start with the phrase,
and in all capital letters, “SHALL TAXES BE RAISED,” this language is then followed by a number representing the total amount of revenue that will be raised by
taxes in the first year. This video was brought to you by the Colorado Fiscal Institute. (upbeat music)

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