TABOR (the Taxpayer Bill of Rights), is complicated – very complicated – and the resulting challenges are endless. Fort Collins voters gave the City the authority to “de-Bruce,” or keep additional revenues, in 1997. In 2010 voters approved a .85 percent sales and use tax called Keeping Fort Collins Great (KFCG) in 2010. The tax provides additional revenues for transportation, public safety and parks and “other community priorities.” The 2010 ballot language asked voters to allow the City to keep all revenues from KFCG “including but not limited” to TABOR.
Now community activist Eric Sutherland has pushed the City into adding another question to the November ballot.
In 2011 the City collected more revenue from KFCG than was anticipated. Recently, Sutherland announced his intent to sue the City under TABOR and force it to issue a refund. While common sense would dictate the City already had the approval to keep excess revenues, similar legal disputes have not provided a definite answer from Colorado appellate courts. Because of the legal uncertainty, the City Council decided it was prudent to ask voters to confirm they intended to City to keep and use all KFCG revenue rather than litigate the issue.
Note: In case you’re wondering, this is different that the recent challenge to Loveland’s Downtown Development Authority’s fall ballot question. In that case, an activist apparently inspired by Sutherland, is suing the City because he believes the tax increment financing revenue tool proposed would create debt for all citizens and should therefore be voted on all City voters and not just those within the DDA boundaries. Confused? Welcome to the wonderful world of TABOR.