Colorado Supreme Court casts long shadow over upcoming 2010 Colorado Legislative session

No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.” — Mark Twain (1866)

The opening of the 2010 Colorado legislative session today has renewed the danger to the liberty and property of Colorado citizens still reeling from the effects of last year’s legislative session – which saw the unconstitutional elimination of general fund spending limitsvoters blindsided by the Colorado Supreme Court’s upholding an increase in property taxes (the so-called “Mill Levy Tax Freeze“) and (last not least) the proliferation of tax hikes masquerading as “fees” (most prominently the FASTER car tax – er, “registration fee” – increase) – ALL courtesy of holes ripped in the Colorado Constitution by recent rulings of the Mullarkey Majority on the Colorado Supreme Court.

Despite all of these unconstitutional “revenue-enhancing” measures, the Colorado Legislature is still dealing with a $600 Million shortfall in the current year’s (2009-2010) budget, and is facing a projected shortfall of over $1B for next year (2010-2011).

Clear The Bench Colorado has been spreading the “good news” for several months that, thanks to the tattered shreds of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) that remain intact, the Colorado Legislature is unlikely to propose any new taxes in the upcoming session.  The bad news, of course, is that thanks to the Mullarkey Majority on the Colorado Supreme Court, they won’t have to – they’ll just call tax increases “fees” or eliminate many of the existing tax credits or exemptions (in other words, taxes you’ve had a break from paying) stripped of constitutional protections by the same Colorado Supreme Court ruling that upheld the “Mill Levy Freeze” property tax increase.

As much as I hate to say “I told you so” –

To help balance the 2010-11 state budget, Gov. Bill Ritter has proposed that nearly $132 million in tax credits and exemptions be eliminated or suspended.

Apparently, last year’s tobacco tax increase was just the warm-up.  Among the many proposals to “balance the budget” by eliminating long-standing tax credits and exemptions are:

  • Eliminating a sales-tax exemption for candy and soda-pop sales (projected revenue: $17.9M)
  • Eliminating a sales-tax exemption for cartons, napkins, condiments, plasticware and other items used to serve food at restaurants (projected revenue: $2.1M)
  • Eliminating the sales tax exemption on Internet purchases at online vendors with in-state affiliates ($5M)
  • Suspending for three years a sales tax exemption for pesticides. ($2.9M)
  • Suspending for three years a sales-tax exemption for animal vaccines, hormones, animal drugs, bull semen and other compounds used in agriculture. ($1.5M)
  • Expanding taxation of computer software, including online purchases and upgrades ($15M)
  • Suspending for two years a sales-tax exemption on all purchases of energy used in manufacturing ($48M)
  • etc. etc.

As if the veritable explosion of new “fees” weren’t enough, this latest laundry list of tax exemptions being put on the chopping block will nickle & dime Colorado consumers and businesses to death (perhaps I was premature in not listing the Legislature’s threat to “life” in addition to sure threats to our liberty and property).

You thought that movie theater candy & soda was expensive already?  You won’t be saving as much on those restaurant leftovers, either.  Online sales are sure to take a hit (ironically, businesses based in Colorado will be hit hardest).  You’ll be sure to be “bugged” by the higher cost of bug spray, too.  Farmers, veterinarians, and pet owners are sure to be irritated by the higher cost of taking care of animals.  Buying or upgrading software (like spamblockers and viruscheckers) will get more expensive.  Oh, and the price of ALL goods manufactured in the state will increase due to higher taxes on energy in production (on top of energy prices already going up, up, up…)

Truly, the Colorado Supreme Court IS “killing the golden goose” of Colorado’s economic prosperity.

Although your “life, liberty, and property” are only under an enhanced threat by the Legislature for less than five short months, they are endangered by the Colorado Supreme Court year-round.  2010 may end up being a “tense legislative session” – but it is also your last chance for a decade to render your verdict by voting “NO” on the four ‘unjust justices’ of the Mullarkey Majority (Justices Michael Bender, Alex Martinez, Nancy Rice, and Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey) who need YOUR approval to continue taking away your constitutional rights: your right to vote on tax increases, your right to defend your homes and business from seizure by rapacious governments, and your right to enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, instead of suffering rule by activist, agenda-driven “justices.”  Please help to support the Clear The Bench Colorado movement to restore accountability to the judiciary and bring back balance to the bench with your comments (Sound Off!), your contributions, and your “NO” vote on retaining these unjust justices in November 2010!

2 Responses to Colorado Supreme Court casts long shadow over upcoming 2010 Colorado Legislative session

  • Marco says:

    Colorado Supreme Court IS “killing the golden goose” of Colorado’s economic prosperity.

    So Colorado’s golden goose originates from the sale of:

    – Candy and soda-pop sales
    – Cartons, napkins, condiments, plasticware and other items used to serve food at restaurants Internet purchases at online vendors with in-state affiliates
    – Pesticides
    – Animal vaccines, hormones, animal drugs, bull semen & other compounds used in agriculture
    – Computer software, including online purchases and upgrades
    – Energy used in manufacturing

    Not only are the amounts minuscule; these sales tax exemptions are loopholes that were created FOR special interests. Why should some industries get breaks and not others? Either get rid of sales taxes all together (and cut all the programs funded by it), or get rid of all exemptions and make it a level playing field.

    Besides, of all the TABOR violations this court has seen fit to overlook; eliminating an exemption (a.k.a. a loophole), seems the least egregious.

  • Director says:

    Marco –

    the “Golden Goose” of Colorado’s economic prosperity originates from a refereed free market system with limited government intervention, property rights, lower taxes, and a stable system of rules, regulations, and laws – ALL of which are actively undermined by the current majority on the Colorado Supreme Court.

    The rule of law is perhaps the most important (and least understood) aspect of economic freedom and prosperity. Defense of property rights and stable legal/regulatory conditions are vital to investment and business development (who will willingly invest in the future if that investment can be capriciously confiscated?)

    Sure, the amounts are miniscule, relatively speaking. Sure, some of the sales tax exemptions might be considered by some to be “loopholes that were created FOR special interests.”

    However miniscule or “special” in impact, however – they ARE (or were, before the Mullarkey Court shredded another section of the Colorado Constitution) protected under TABOR.

    Don’t like ’em? Fine – take it to a vote of the people. Otherwise, don’t change the rules of the game simply because you don’t favor the results.

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