60, 61 and 101, in full

The following is reprinted from the Boulder Weekly (August 26, 2010 edition).

Amendment 60

Amendment 60 changes Section 20, Article X, of the Colorado Constitution, commonly known as TABOR.

Effective Jan. 1, 2011, the amendment limits property taxes by:

• requiring school districts to reduce their non-debt mill levies by 50 percent between 2011 and 2020 and requiring the state to increase state spending on K-12 education by backfilling the loss in property taxes;

• repealing any property tax increase, extension, or abatement rate increase that occurred after 1992 without voter approval. This is subject to legal interpretation, but based on information provided by the proponents at the review and comment hearing for an earlier version of this measure, this could be interpreted to include, but is not necessarily limited to, the mill levy freeze resulting from Senate Bill 07-199;

• requiring government authorities and enterprises to pay property taxes and requiring local governments to lower tax rates to offset the additional revenue;

• repealing,presumably on Amendment 60’s effective date, the results of local elections allowing governments to retain property tax revenue above their TABOR limit;

• allowing property owners to vote in any election involving property tax issues where they own property;

• placing limits on future ballot questions by: – requiring ballot questions that raise property taxes to be separate from debt-related questions; – requiring a 10-year sunset on voter-approved property tax rate increases; and – requiring a four-year sunset on voter-approved retention of revenue above a government’s TABOR limit.

• legally defining certain actions as tax increases, including voter-approved revenue changes above a government’s TABOR limit and the extension of an expiring tax;

• requiring property tax bills to list only property taxes and late charges. The measure does not specify how fees or special assessments currently levied on property tax bills should be assessed and does not address whether the intent is to eliminate such fees and special assessments;

• prohibiting enterprises and unelected boards from levying a mandatory fee or tax on property; and

• providing for the enforcement of the amendment, including, but not limited to:

– requiring the state to enforce the amendment and conduct annual audits of taxing districts; and – stating that the amendment supersedes conflicting laws, opinions and constitutional provisions and shall always be strictly interpreted to favor taxpayers.

Amendment 61

This measure amends Article XI (concerning public debt) and Section 20, Article X (TABOR), of the Colorado Constitution, to limit debt. The amendments to Article XI:

• require the ballot title for any question seeking voter approval to specify how the moneys to be borrowed are to be used and prohibits any subsequent change in the use of the borrowed moneys. The amendment to Article X, Section 20, imposes specific limits on borrowing beginning in 2011. Specifically:

•The state and all of its political subdivisions are prohibited from borrowing money in any form;

• no borrowing may continue past its original term, and all current borrowing must be repaid;

• whether or not the debt is secured with taxes, a government’s tax rates are required to decrease as the debt is repaid by the amount of the average annual repayment. The measure defines this as “a voter-approved revenue change;” and

• local governments could borrow with voter approval only if:

– the debt is bonded and repaid within 10 years; and – for non-enterprises, the total principal does not exceed 10 percent taxable value of real property in the government’s jurisdiction.

Proposition 101

This measure seeks to amend Article 25, Title 39, Colorado Revised Statutes, to limit government revenue. Effective Jan. 1, 2011, the amendment would limit state and local government revenue by:

• Reducing the state income tax rate over time from 4.63 percent to 3.5 percent. After initially falling to 4.5 percent in 2011, the rate is required to be reduced by one tenth of a percentage point each year for 10 years, but only during years in which income tax revenue increases by more than 6 percent.

As a result, this is likely to occur over a period of time greater than 10 years.

• Reducing automobile-related revenue by:

– reducing annual specific ownership taxes over a four-year period to $2 per new vehicle and $1 for older vehicles;

– exempting the first $10,000 of a vehicle’s price from sales tax over a four year period;

– eliminating taxes on vehicle rentals or leases;

– prohibiting taxes on vehicle sales rebates;

– reducing annual registration and title fees to $10 per vehicle;

– prohibiting tax, fine, parking, seizure, inspection and new plate fees on vehicles or vehicle uses by state and local governments; and

– defining “added charges” as tax increases.

• Reducing telecommunication related revenue by:

– prohibiting state and local governments from charging any fee or tax on, or aiding any program related to, telephone, pager, cable, television, radio, Internet, computer, satellite or other telecommunication service customer accounts; and – defining “added charges” as tax increases.