Clear The Bench Colorado called it (back in 2010): Federal court strikes down Colorado’s unconstitutional ‘Amazon Tax’
Clear The Bench Colorado called it (back in 2010): as reported in the Denver Post (“Federal court tosses Colorado’s Amazon tax“), the Denver Business Journal (“Colorado’s ‘Amazon tax’ struck down“) and ably analyzed on the View from a Height blog (“Amazon Tax Bites The Dust“) – the unconstitutional, and never-collected, Colorado ‘Amazon Tax’ was overturned in federal court.
Clear The Bench Colorado was at the forefront of the opposition to the unconstitutional “Dirty Dozen” tax increases passed by the Colorado Legislature in 2010 – testifying before the House and Senate Finance Committees that the tax increases were violations of the rights of Colorado citizens under the Colorado Constitution (Article X, Section 20: Taxpayers Bill of Rights) to be consulted (by vote) before being subjected to more or higher taxes, despite an interpretation of the Colorado Supreme Court ruling in the “Mill Levy Tax Freeze” case that the requirement to ask first could be ignored.
The 2010 internet sales tax (or “Amazon Tax”) House Bill 10-1193: Sales Tax Out of State Retailers (Pommer/Heath) was among the worst of the “Dirty Dozen” tax increases from both a constitutional and policy perspective, since previous court rulings had already held that a state’s attempts to regulate commerce in other states (as this tax attempted to do) ran afoul of the U.S. Constitution.
Clear The Bench Colorado Director Matt Arnold testified before both the state House and Senate Finance committees that the Amazon Tax was a violation of both the Colorado Constitution (TABOR – Article X, Section 20) and the US Constitution before the law was passed back in 2010 and boldly predicted that the law would be challenged – and be struck down – in federal court.
Instead of heeding the warning, the Democrat-controlled legislature passed what was clearly an unconstitutional law (depending, no doubt, on a then reliably anti-constitutional Colorado Supreme Court to uphold the law) which not only failed to collect any tax revenue, but wound up costing the state tens if not hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend the indefensible in federal court when the law was (predictably) challenged – and (predictably) overturned.
It’s worth noting that the challenge was filed in Federal court, not in the state courts, because the plaintiffs clearly understand that the Colorado Supreme Court has established a pattern of failing to uphold the law (as written) and that the current majority on the court would have a vested interest in striking down any challenge to the tax increase law since it relied explicitly on an interpretation of their ruling in the “Mill Levy Tax Freeze” case. It’s a sad state of affairs when businesses and consumers cannot count on the courts in our state to uphold the rule of law – part of why Colorado is regarded as a “judicial hellhole.”
Clear The Bench Colorado will, with your support, continue to promote transparency and accountability in the Colorado judiciary, informing the public to increase awareness of the substantial public policy implications of an unrestrained activism and political agendas in the courts. We will continue to work to educate voters and provide information of relevance related to the judicial branch, and to provide useful and substantive evaluations of judicial performance.
Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.