DENVER (KDVR) – This year marks the 30th year of the taxpayer’s bill of rights, or TABOR program.
The amendment limits the amount the state government can spend each year and requires taxpayers to be refunded when there’s a surplus in the budget.
Now, 30 years after it began, some lawmakers are calling for those funds to be used to pay educators across Colorado.
“The idea is completely out of step with what Coloradans want and Coloradans have spoken on this issue over and over, over the past several years,” Ben Murrey from the Independence Institute said.
Murrey maintains TABOR funds should stay in the pockets of Coloradans.
“I think that’s the right thing to do with it,” Murrey said. “When the government has excess, that should come back to taxpayers and to voters.”
Two lawmakers, State Representative Cathy Kipp from Fort Collins and State Senator Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada, both Democrats, have proposed shifting the TABOR refund dollars to fund education.
The proposal to shift TABOR refunds leans, in part, on a Magellan Strategies poll that reports 64% of voters surveyed support reallocating money to public education.
Democratic strategist and FOX31 political analyst Andy Boian told Matt Mauro on Colorado Point of View the proposal has noble intentions but faces a stern reality.
“I think it is an opportunity to look at where education funding is severely lacking but under TABOR, under the law, it is required that the money is returned to the people,” Boian said. “We should follow the law.”
Right now, the average salary for an educator in Colorado lingers around $60,000.