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On Colo. tax hike proposal, the legislature can fix it…later

Posted by Kelly Maher on April 22nd, 2011
 
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Do we know enough of the details about a potential tax hike proposed for the Colorado ballot?

At a Title Setting Board meeting this week, state Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, and attorney Dee Wisor were present to advocate for two tax increase initiatives. One would increase income and sales taxes for five years, the other would do so in perpetuity. According to the memorandum from the Colorado Legislative Council staff:

“For both initiatives, the estimated state revenue impact for FY 2012-13, the first full fiscal year for which the initiatives will be effective, is $536.1 million.”

We have yet to see which, if either, proposal might end up on the ballot.

But at the comment hearing for the permanent tax increase on March 25, several questions elicited a response from Wisor that the legislature can fix it later. Wisor makes the point that a statutory change is easier for the legislature to adjust than a constitutional change, which is true. But to rely so much on potential legislative fixes, even before it makes the ballot, sounds like a bad idea to me.

Why can’t we get the questions answered now - and definitely before Colorado voters may be asked to cast a vote on raising taxes.

The video above, with my commentary, is condensed from the 12-minute hearing [watch full video here] on March 25, and highlights the segments in which Wisor said the legislature can fix it later. Below are the questions he was answering:

“In connection with the income tax increase, don’t you also want to adjust the withholding rates accordingly?”

“Is the intent that the vendor fee associated with sales tax collection (which is currently a percentage of sales taxes) should increase proportionally with the tax increase?”

“TABOR [Taxpayer's Bill of Rights] creates a temporary income tax rate reduction as a mechanism when excess taxes are collected in excess of TABOR limits; would this trigger that increase?”

  • Post by Kelly Maher on April 22nd, 2011

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