Senior Director of State Policy Initiatives
TABOR — the rigid and flawed formula limiting state and local revenue growth that’s locked into Colorado’s constitution — has had a serious unforeseen impact on property taxpayers, according to a new study from Colorado State University researchers. The authors closely examine TABOR’s interaction with other state constitutional limits related to school finance and property taxes and find that:
As the authors aptly note:
In many ways, Colorado policymakers and voters have created a “perfect storm” of overlapping and conflicting constitutional provisions. Individual actions, each of which appeared to Colorado citizens to make sense in a vacuum, combine to create a toxic formula for very confused tax policy. . . . The situation is made more difficult by the fact that Colorado’s [limits] are all constitutional, so addressing them requires voters to understand extremely complex issues and support equally complex solutions in the context of election seasons. . . .
As we’ve noted, Colorado’s TABOR experience serves as a cautionary tale for other states. A TABOR, which stands for “taxpayer bill of rights,” is really a poison pill that forces deep cuts to education and other services over time, and — as this latest study shows — can also have other unpredictable side effects.