Presentation on Tax Policy Changes
COMMITTEE ON JOINT FINANCE
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09:55 AM -- Presentation on Tax Policy Changes
Ms. Sharon Eubanks, Office of Legislative Legal Services (OLLS), began the presentation about the Supreme Court decision Mesa County Bd. of Comm'rs v. State.Members received a memorandum from OLLS which is included as Attachment B.
Ms. Eubanks explained that the decision involved the district level mill levy freeze for school finance purposes. The OLLS has been asked to discuss the decision as it relates to the authority of the General Assembly to enact tax policy changes directly causing a net tax revenue gain. This case is the first time the Colorado Supreme Court has interpreted this section of TABOR, which is subsection (4) (a). She explained this provision established voter approval requirements for different types of tax actions. Ms. Eubanks provided a general overview of the case, the history of the mill levy, and a legislative history.
Ms. Eubanks also provided a history of Senate Bill 07-199 and property tax limitations. This bill was challenged on several constitutional grounds. The district court found the bill unconstitutional, which was reversed by the Colorado Supreme Court.
Ms. Eubanks explained the decision and how it impacted voter approval requirements in TABOR. She stated there were no previous judicial interpretations of this provision in TABOR. Ms. Eubanks continued testifying about the court's decision. She explained OLLS has prepared the memorandum based on an analysis of the case that includes a step-by-step test for the General Assembly to consider.
Senator Romer raised questions about a tax rate change and a tax policy change. Discussion ensued. Senator Romer also asked about value-added taxation, sales taxes, and other tax policy changes. Ms. Eubanks continued by discussing the memorandum prepared by OLLS. Discussion also ensued about legal precedents related to tax policy.
Ms. Eubanks explained that the General Assembly can enact the laws it sees fit and there are considerations each time it does so. Mr. Ed DeCecco, OLLS, closed by discussing Referendum C.