If Democrats in the 2007 General Assembly were devious for passing Gov. Ritter’s infamous property tax hike without voter approval, the current crop plunges to new depths.

In an act of sheer arrogance, this year’s Democrat majority poked taxpayers in the eye just for spite.

Recall that the aforementioned property tax hike increases the burden on local property owners while reducing the state’s obligation to fund K-12 education.

Recall also that Colorado’s constitution says that no “tax policy change directly causing a net revenue gain” can be enacted without a vote of the people and that this policy change increased property tax revenues by $117 million in the first year alone.

Finally, recall that crafty Democrats hinged permission for their tax hike on 174 separate, previous votes by taxpayers in all but four of the state’s 178 school districts.  Never mind that those voters were repeatedly assured by school and state officials that their taxes would not increase as a result.

Not satisfied that the Colorado Supreme Court slipped this nonsense through a previously undiscovered loophole in the state constitution, Democrats added arrogance to insult by swiftly passing bill to now prevent any of those 174 school districts from reconsidering.

That’s arrogance, plain and simple.

For 13 years after voters adopted the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR), the Department of Education and local school districts reassured property owners that they could loosen revenue limits on their local schools without making themselves vulnerable to a tax increase by the legislature.

They took this position not because CDE or local school boards are staunch defenders of TABOR but because they were following state law.

Then in 2007, the legislature unilaterally decided to change the law, to impose an immediate tax increase on property owners — and to retroactively change the result of those 174 local elections, all the while arguing that it was precisely those elections that permitted the tax hike in the first place.

As a result, property owners in those districts are now paying higher taxes — not so their schools can receive more money, but so the state can take the money it previously spent on K-12 education and spend it on social welfare programs instead.

However, the four districts that never waived their school’s revenue limits remain exempt from the legislature’s shenanigans.  In those districts, the growth of local property tax revenues is limited and the state must provide any additional money necessary to fully fund those schools.

A reasonable taxpayer — or school board member — in one of the school districts now being soaked by the state might see this disparity and decide that the local school district should reconsider its decision to waive all revenue limits.  After all, it’s one thing for property owners to permit local school to “keep the change” and quite another to permit the state to raise taxes, too.

Now thanks to Senate Bill 291, which was opposed by every Republican at the state capitol, districts that loosened the tax limits under the old law are forbidden from reinstituting those limits now that the law has changed.  If they do, the state will punish their children by withholding funds from their school.

This from the party that claims to do everything “for the children.”  In reality, the Democrats do everything “for the government” and aren’t above using your children as hostages in their extortion racket.

It’s hard to imagine how the state’s constitutional mandate to provide a “thorough and uniform system of free public schools” could be interpreted to allow one school to be penalized solely because of the way its residents vote.

However, Colorado Democrats have already proven that they will ignore the constitution when it’s inconvenient and that the state supreme court can be counted on to back them up.

3 Thoughts on “Democrats’ arrogance adds to taxpayer insult”

  • Where are the Democrats priorities, they take away the Homestead Exemption from Senior Citizens and Disabled Veterans but pass a bill that lets same Sex couples claim thier partner for State Medical Insurance, How much is that going to cost and who is in more need, a Sr., Disabled Veteran or someone with a State Job. I don’t get it, will just have to remember them at election time.

  • Once again Mr. Hillman has demonstrated how far out of touch the old guard of the Republican Party is to the pulse of the new 21st century electorate. To suggest Democrats are less than devious to Colorado residents is the same old 20th century fear mongering which, in the past, has worked in electing Republicans to office who were more concerned in protecting their wealth than actually helping Colorado progress into a prosperous economic future. Republicans (like Mr. Hillman) love tossing the word “taxes” as if it is a 5-letter bad word. In reality, taxes are not bad. Mr. Hillman, it is the abuse of tax payer’s money which is bad. This past Republican abuse of taxes has resulted in higher unemployment in the state, the loss of almost all rural manufacturing and the creation of greater poverty in the state. These are the reasons the Republicans are losing the vote and they just don’t seem to get it. Republican fear mongering may have worked in the past, but it doesn’t work on this electorate; now, it just makes Republicans look bitter and out of touch with the American people. My optimistic side wishes they would wise up and modernize their strategies; yet, at the same time, my pessimistic side hopes they keep up the same old 20th century mentality and continue to self-destruct. I think America would be a better place if the Republican Party would just disappear. Recently, they are always full of anger, venom, and just downright disrespectful to modern 21st century American values. Mr. Hillman’s claim Democrats are arrogant, while denying the need for more money to be given to struggling, hard working families which have been previously harmed by the failed economic Republican policies of the past is not only hypocritical; but also shows how out of touch most Republican politicians are to the Colorado voter. Another word Republicans like to toss around (as if it is a bad word) is the word the “government”. It is as if they forget the government is “WE THE PEOPLE”. To make the claim Mr. Hillman, “the Democrats do everything “for the government”; as if it is an insult, is ridiculous and shows his inaptitude in understanding pure constitutional concepts. Ironically, I agree Democrats do everything for, “WE THE PEOPLE”, while Republicans do everything for the “RICH”. It is too bad the Republican Party in Colorado have never understood the best way to protect their wealth is to understand their responsibility to the poor. Democrats would not have had to give more money to “social welfare programs” if the Republicans had not devastated the Colorado economy in the past with their failed 20th century policies. In addition, whenever I hear or read a Republican speak of social welfare programs with hatred in their connotations; I quickly realize I am speaking to someone who has never endured a lay-off, has never had to overcome economic strife, and does not understand how hard it is to start over. Mr. Hillman, taxes are not bad, government is not hideous, and social welfare programs are not evil. What is bad, hideous, and evil is the bureaucratic abuse of these noble institutions by Republicans who wish to deceive others in believing it is not their responsibility; to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

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