Colorado House Republicans urged Gov. Jared Polis not to hold a special session to debate tax revenues in a letter sent this week.
Forecasts show taxpayers could see $1.3 billion in tax refunds over the next three years under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
Colorado Democrats are considering legislation to keep a portion of the expected revenue that would otherwise be refunded, The Denver Post reported. Polis would have to call a special session for the legislature to convene on the bill.
“We urge you not to call a special session,” the letter read. “We think taxpayers should get the full refund they deserve. Any effort to undermine or take away the refunds of our citizens will be strongly opposed by us.”
The letter was signed by House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, House Assistant Minority Leader Kevin Van Winkle, and other House GOP members.
The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, approved by voters in 1992, requires taxpayer approval of all tax increases and requires tax refunds when revenue increases faster than population growth plus inflation.
Almost $40 million in TABOR refunds will be paid out in fiscal year 2018-19, according to the governor’s budget office. Revenue is expected to exceed the TABOR cap by $300 million to $575 million for 2018-19, money that would need to be refunded to taxpayers.
“Colorado taxpayers are on the verge of receiving their largest tax refund ever since the passage of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Democrat lawmakers want to strip that refund from Colorado families through a special session,” Neville said in a statement. “We have a constitutional duty to return money to the taxpayers when we exceed the revenue caps, and we must fulfill that obligation. Any effort to undermine or take away the refunds of our citizens will be strongly opposed by the House Republicans.”
Initial forecasts didn’t expect taxpayers to see refunds, and Democrats in the last session sought to keep all future refunds by putting the question up for voters on the 2019 ballot.
Proposition CC would allow the government to permanently keep excess revenue that would otherwise be refunded to taxpayers.
The Democrats’ draft bill could amend the proposition, the Post said.
The initiative is opposed by Republicans and conservative groups, who point to the updated revenue forecasts that would see millions refunded to taxpayers as evidence TABOR is working.
Liberal groups are also gearing up for making reforms to TABOR in 2020.