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 limits, voters 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” –
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…)
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!