Tax and Spending Limits

Policy Basics:
What is TABOR?

A Taxpayer Bill of Rights or TABOR is a constitutional measure that limits the annual growth in state and local revenues to the sum of the inflation rate and the percentage change in the state’s population.

The formula does not keep pace with the normal growth in the cost of maintaining services, let alone the need to make new investments or improvements.

Inevitably, TABOR forces large, annual cuts to services that families and businesses rely on and that support state economic prosperity

Related: Policy Basics: State Supermajority Rules to Raise Revenues


Lessons from Colorado for States Considering TABOR

Colorado’s so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, has contributed to a significant decline in that state’s public services. This decline has serious implications not only for the more than 5 million residents of Colorado, but also for the many millions of residents of other states in which TABOR-like measures are being promoted.  



TABOR is a state tax and expenditure limit that includes the following elements: it is a constitutional amendment; it restricts revenue or expenditure growth to the sum of inflation plus population change; and it requires voter approval to override the revenue or spending limits. In Colorado, where the so-called “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” or TABOR was adopted in 1992, public services have deteriorated significantly.

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