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Why Colorado Latinos Should Defend the Taxpayer Bill of Rights

Why Colorado Latinos Should Defend the Taxpayer Bill of Rights

Why Colorado Latinos Should Defend the Taxpayer Bill of Rights
August 15
15:49 2019

OPED

Angel Merlos/ The Coalitions Director for The LIBRE Initiative

As we all know, Colorado is a great place to live, work and raise a family. Besides our state’s natural beauty, Colorado is also a place of jobs and opportunity.

Of course, like most things, Colorado’s success isn’t happening by accident. It’s taking place because lawmakers, from both sides of the aisle, have embraced pro-growth economic policies that have created the conditions for innovation and prosperity. While other places have racked up huge deficits and been forced to declare bankruptcy, Colorado has erred on the side of fiscal discipline.

Unfortunately, this sensible approach to governing is at risk.

Later this year, Coloradans will have a chance to vote on Proposition CC, which would put an end to the tax refunds provided to state residents under the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Enacted in 1992, TABOR establishes a limit on how much revenue the government can collect from taxes every year. The limit is determined by a calculation of population growth, inflation and the amount of taxes collected the previous year.

TABOR stipulates that any excess tax revenue should be returned to taxpayers. TABOR also mandates that if the government wants to use any of the excess revenue to pay for government services, it may do so – but only with the approval from voters. 

One analysis estimates that over the years, $3 billion has been returned to individuals and businesses.

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers, but the important thing to remember is that TABOR is a guardrail to reduce unnecessary government spending and higher taxes.

All of these things matter because many of us know first-hand from living in Latin America what happens when the government spends above its means and racks up huge amounts of debt: opportunity, jobs and a high quality of life become scarcer. It’s part of the reason why many of us left everything and everyone behind to come to America.

Unfortunately, some are determined to undo TABOR and remove this important safeguard to reduce wasteful government spending. If Proposition CC is approved, Colorado taxpayers will permanently give up their tax refunds so politicians in Denver can spend as much as they want without first consulting voters.

Protecting TABOR is critical for all Coloradans, including our growing Latino community, which has finally climbed out of the hole created by the Great Recession, which caused home foreclosures and unemployment rates to skyrocket.

Today, the unemployment rate among Colorado Hispanics is 5.1%, according to numbers released earlier this year. Meanwhile, nationally, Hispanics are seeing unemployment at historic lows. Hispanic homeownership rates are on the rise and last year the Census Bureau reported that the median income for Hispanic households is climbing.

To ensure that we can further increase these economic gains, we must demand that lawmakers in Denver pledge to be good stewards of our taxpayer dollars. Instead of gutting TABOR, they should double down on the policies that have served Colorado well over the years to encourage innovation and growth.

This November, vote “no” on proposition CC to ensure that Colorado continues to be a great place to work, live and raise a family.

 

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