Balancing the Budget with new “Fees?” Ritter Gun Tax joins Colorado Car Tax in Mullarkey-sanctioned TABOR runaround
Well, that didn’t take long.
In Monday’s article predicting that new “fees“, not new taxes, would be the preferred approach of the Governor and the Colorado Legislature to address our state’s “fiscal crisis” (in reality more of a spending issue, not a revenue shortfall), I’d thought (paraphrasing Will Rogers) that my wallet was safe until the Legislature was back in session. Although that’s still technically true (since the latest proposed “fee” increases still require legislative approval before going into effect), less than a day passed between my prediction and the first new “fee” proposal by Governor Ritter.
Ritter’s Colorado Gun Tax is the latest scheme to target a maligned minority group (gun-owners) to bear the burden of additional charges (pardon, “fees“) in order to exercise a constitutional right. Under Ritter’s proposed budget plan, the state would levy “a fee increase for background checks on gun sales” as well as increasing the fee for Concealed-Carry Weapons (CCW) permits.
This follows on the heels of the 2009 Legislative Session’s Tobacco Tax increase, HB1342 (technically, an elimination of the long-standing Colorado state tax exemption for tobacco products).
Does anyone think that our governor and legislators will stop with targeting gun-owners and smokers? Not by a long shot (pardon the pun); they’re just getting warmed up:
He [Governor Ritter] talked vaguely about “options other than budget reductions” for next year’s budget. Some Democratic leaders want to eliminate some of the nearly $2 billion in tax credits, incentives and exemptions in state law.
The “nearly $2 billion in tax credits, incentives, and exemptions in state law”- which includes exemptions on taxing groceries, internet access, gasoline, fuel for residential heat, etc. (view the complete list) – was previously shielded from legislative raids on your wallet by TABOR, until the Mullarkey Court declared “open season” on these credits as part of the “Mill Levy Tax Freeze” ruling.
Ritter and the Colorado Legislature were similarly prohibited from bypassing TABOR – and TABOR’s requirement for a vote of the people on tax increases – by raising taxes disguised as “fees” until the Mullarkey Court’s “November Surprise” ruling in the Barber v. Ritter case.
The Mullarkey Majority has been aiding and abetting the sticky fingers of state government in YOUR wallet. It’s high time to hold them accountable – vote “NO” on retaining these unjust justices in 2010.
Let’s Clear The Bench, Colorado!