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Network of Colorado groups ramp up effort to diminish Taxpayer Bill of Rights

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By Derek Draplin | The Center Square

A network of left-leaning groups in Colorado are ramping up efforts to change the state's Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in the coming years.

The network is called Vision 2020, and so far it includes the Bell Policy Center and Colorado Fiscal Institute, and Great Education Colorado, among others. 

The network recently praised a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that said a proposed measure to repealTABOR outright doesn’t violate the state constitution’s single-subject requirement. The ruling means TABOR, passed by voters in 1992, could be repealed with one vote.

Proponents of repeal would still need to collect signatures to get the question on the ballot for 2020.

The ruling “gives Colorado voters a powerful tool to help build and maintain great communities all across the state by allowing them to repeal TABOR with a single statewide vote,” Vision 2020 said in a statement. 

“For some, this might seem not seem like news. After all, it’s common sense that voters should be able to take something out of the constitution with one vote what they put in with one vote,” the network said. “But conventional wisdom, based on legal interpretations of various court rulings and existing laws, said otherwise.” 

The statement said the network is exploring other possible changes to TABOR, not just repeal. 

TABOR critics say the constitutional amendment hamstrings lawmakers’ ability to fund things like education and transportation.

“Repeal of TABOR is one approach for voters to consider, but it is not the only avenue for reform,” Vision 2020 said.

One of the options already on the table for the network is Proposition CC, which was put on the ballot by the legislature and will ask voters in November if the state can permanently keep excess tax revenue that is typically required to be paid back to taxpayers under TABOR.

Gov. Jared Polis has said he doesn’t back fully repealing TABOR but said he’s “supportive of the concept” put forth by Proposition CC. 

Conservative groups have already coalesced to oppose Proposition CC and are ready to oppose any measure repealing TABOR. They argue that TABOR protects taxpayers from excessive tax increases and government bloat.