Colorful Commentary

TABOR rebates will happen, but investments won’t be restored

Posted December 22, 2014 by Carol Hedges
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tabor rebate chart
As the chart above shows, the state will almost certainly trigger TABOR rebates in the 2015-16 fiscal year, which begins in July, if not in the current 2014-15 fiscal year, which ends in June. What’s less clear to the public is that the rebates will come even though the state will not have restored public services that were devastated during the Great Recession.
“Today’s economic forecasts make one thing abundantly clear: Despite the fact that Colorado has one of the fastest-growing economy in the country, TABOR still prevents public investments from benefiting from the recovery. While lawmakers in other states are considering innovations that benefit middle class families, Colorado lawmakers are being cautioned not to be optimistic about restoring cuts made during the recession.
“At the same time Colorado’s K-12 schools are nearly $1 billion short of voter-required funding levels, TABOR blocks the the state from closing the gap,” Hedges said. “Fifteen years ago, the state paid nearly 70 percent of the cost of college. Now, students pay 64 percent of the cost of college, with their share rising every year. Yet TABOR prevents the state from making college available to more middle class families.
“Roads in our state are degrading and ever more congested, yet TABOR rebates mean the state won’t be able to reinvest in our infrastructure.
“The formulas in TABOR simply do not work.”
Hedges noted the additional conundrum presented by the fact that TABOR will require the state to issue rebates of marijuana tax collections, even though pot tax revenue came in under projections. In fact, as state officials noted today, the state will still have to honor the commitments made in Proposition AA but may have to refund all $58.7 million collected in pot tax revenue.
“Under TABOR, the state still has to spend money to fix schools but must refund all of the new tax revenue meant for that purpose – and more,” Hedges said.

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