In 1992, Colorado voted to add Article X, Section 20, better known as the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), to the state constitution. In doing so, the most restrictive tax laws of any state in the country were created. TABOR limits growth in government spending, prohibits certain taxes altogether, sets requirements for how revenue questions appear on the ballot, and prohibits the state legislature or other local governments from increasing taxes without voter approval.
Colorado hasn’t updated its broken tax code in the 27 years since TABOR was enacted.
That means we’ve made no major new investments in public services despite decades of booming population growth, and our roads and schools have paid the price. Our tax code now requires the poorest 20% of Coloradans to pay double the effective tax rate as the top 1%, and efforts to make the top 1% pay what they owe have been stopped by TABOR’s deceptive ballot language and multi-million dollar special interest opposition campaigns.
TABOR keeps us from having an equitable tax system and, by extension, well-funded schools, roads, and other public investments that help make our communities places we all want to live.
Our state is missing out on important opportunities for wise public investments that create opportunity for all Coloradans.
Despite our states booming economic growth, many Coloradans are still having a hard time making ends meet. Too many families have seen their incomes either stay flat or even lose ground in the face of a skyrocketing cost of living. As more and more people move here, seeking to enjoy the things that make Colorado a great place to live, we will need to ensure our public services keep up to match the increased demand.
Taxes are an investment we make together to keep our communities running. If everyone chips in a little today, we can avoid paying a much higher price down the road.
The role of our government is to protect and support our communities.
We have to ask ourselves if TABOR does that: Does it help our government work for all people and does it create more opportunities for all Coloradans to live a dignified life? The short answer is no.
By exercising our role as owners of our democracy, we can transform our government to prioritize the voice of all Coloradans, not just those at the top.
Join Our TABOR Reform Efforts!
Repeal of TABOR is one approach for voters to consider, but it is not the only avenue forward.
Vision 2020, a grassroots network of concerned citizens and organizations (including Together Colorado), is mobilizing for a reform measure to be placed on this year’s ballot. We are building a movement, but we can’t be successful without people of faith joining together to make sure every community can thrive.
If you want to be a part of this movement, let us know!
We all have a story of how our government helps our communities thrive. To reform TABOR, we need to highlight our stories. If you have one to share, please do so!