DENVER (AP) — Colorado voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure Tuesday asking if the state could keep excess tax revenue.
Democrats who control the statehouse had referred the tax revenue measure, called Proposition CC, to the ballot. It asked if the state could keep revenue in those years when it has a surplus and is required to return that money to taxpayers.
The revenue would have been allocated to transportation and transit, K-12 schools and higher education. Preliminary returns showed the measure losing by a double-digit margin.
The campaign reflected longstanding philosophical differences over the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, a constitutional amendment that requires voters’ approval of any new taxes or revenue retention measures.
Democrats blame TABOR’s revenue restrictions for chronic underinvestment in Colorado’s schools, roads and universities.
Republicans credit TABOR for keeping taxes low on the private sector, allowing it to fuel the state’s economic growth.
Coloradans have voted repeatedly against most state tax increases. Opponents of Tuesday’s measure claimed they’d done so again — bucking the will of Democrats who contended CC wasn’t a tax rate hike.
“Tonight’s outcome reflects an important and continued trend,” Michael Fields, executive director of the conservative advocacy group Colorado Rising Action, said in a statement. “At their core, Coloradans remain fiscally prudent.”
TABOR also sets an annual state income limit that can trigger tax refunds based on a formula that involves population and inflation. Proposition CC’s opponents called the ballot measure a prelude to seeking full repeal of TABOR.
“Proposition CC would have eroded Coloradans’ constitutional protection from irresponsible spending and voters were right to reject it,” said Jesse Mallory, Colorado state director for Americans for Prosperity.