2018 TABOR

Our “On the Issues” pages draw from speeches, interviews, campaign websites, our candidate questionnaire and prior media coverage, including our own. These pages will continue to be updated.

Steve Barlock

“TABOR’s requirement of asking voters their permission for tax hikes is a fundamental aspect of Colorado’s constitution and culture. As Governor, I will not only support keeping TABOR but also work to strengthen it and will not support run-arounds on its substantive meaning such as an endless liberal array of fees and licensing requirements.”  —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Cynthia Coffman

Coffman defended TABOR in a years-long federal lawsuit, which was dismissed in May.

“But she also upset TABOR hardliners with a legal opinion saying she believed it is constitutional to turn a nearly $1 billion hospital program into something called an enterprise fund where the money it generates wouldn’t hit revenue caps under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.” The Colorado Independent

Lew Gaiter

“Gaiter also says he would want to examine Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Constitutional amendment known as TABOR, which requires voter approval to raise taxes and limits spending but also complicates Colorado’s budget and impacts local governments. ‘Let’s have a review of TABOR and look at those things that are the law of unintended consequences and let’s propose a solution and see if the citizens of Colorado are open to fixing it,’ he says.” The Colorado Independent

Noel Ginsburg

Within the first two years of my administration I will ask the voters to remove the outdated spending formulas from TABOR, while keeping in place citizens’ right to vote on any new taxes. As I travel around our state, people tell me they are ready to have an honest conversation about the challenges we face. I know we can make commonsense fixes here. If we show the public we want to be accountable, and that we can have reasonable reforms that make sense for a modern Colorado, we can do it.” Noel for Colorado

“Colorado’s education, infrastructure, healthcare, and transportation systems have been systematically underfunded for years. Amendments such as TABOR and Gallagher have constricted our ability to provide the public services necessary to sustain, let alone improve, the quality of life for all Coloradans. As an example, 50% of school districts only operate 4 days a week and we are 9 billion dollars behind on infrastructure investments. The first step is reforming TABOR by a referred measure to the voters that would protect the right of the public to vote on any new taxes, while stripping TABOR of its harmful and antiquated funding formulas. In stripping these formulas, we will be able to retain the tax dollars that have already been collected for these essential services.”  —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Mike Johnston

“While we are riding high now, we still have an $800 million debt to our public school system, and continue to underfund our transportation system and environmental protection. When the next recession occurs, and, unfortunately, there will be a future recession, our state finances will once again be cast into a fiscal hole, and recovery will take years. As governor, I will give Coloradans confidence that their tax dollars are being wisely invested and, yes, go to voters with a plan to unravel our fiscal knot so we can adequately plan for, and invest in, the future.”  —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Cary Kennedy

“Colorado has one of the strongest economies in the country. However, TABOR is outdated and has locked us into fiscal and economic policy that prevents our state from meeting the demands of a growing economy. We can maintain protections for taxpayers, and have responsible fiscal policy for our state by allowing tax revenue to keep up with Colorado’s economic growth.” Cary Kennedy for Governor

“I am the only candidate who has called for permanent TABOR reform my entire career. TABOR is an outdated system that keeps us from making the investments we need to keep up with growth and prepare for the future. As governor, I will lead a bipartisan coalition to pass permanent TABOR reform.”  —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Greg Lopez

“Toward fiscal responsibility, all Coloradans deserve to keep more of their hard-earned money. I will honor TABOR, which insures state government is reined-in, and remains small but effective.” Lopez for Governor

Donna Lynne

“I think TABOR creates some significant problems for us even with that fix. We’ll have some ability to continue to support education even with the TABOR cap, but sooner or later, it’s going to catch up to us. Look at the debate that just went on in our special session. Really, we needed to fix what was wrong in a piece of legislation for our special districts — a technical error. But it became a TABOR conversation, and it really wasn’t about TABOR. I think TABOR will continue to be waved as a flag by the Republicans, and I think many voters in Colorado like the idea of voting on their tax increases. But I think there’s an awful lot of other parts of TABOR that could be fixed — particularly the fact that we don’t acknowledge that things are changing. The formula of population inflation doesn’t deal with other circumstances we have here in Colorado, including the fact that the largest-growing segment of our population is the elderly, and they tend to need more services. So if it strictly uses population, it doesn’t take into account some of these other factors.” Westword

Victor Mitchell

“‘I love TABOR,’ he said of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, a favorite state constitutional amendment of conservatives that liberals say hurts funding for schools, transportation and other public needs. ‘I was supportive of TABOR from the get-go and still am. I don’t believe we should be asking for one darn penny from any citizen of our state of additional taxes, not one penny.'” Colorado Politics, via The Colorado Springs Gazette 

“TABOR has worked for Colorado. Our problems would be much more severe if we didn’t have TABOR restricting the growth in government. …But the question is, what are we doing with the money? We have such incredible waste and inefficiency — the way we’re using our resources. …That’s why I believe in zero-based budgeting. And I want to change a committee in the General Assembly called the Legislative Audit Committee. It’s a committee that has equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and the House, and I want to change that company’s mandate from financial auditing to performance auditing. …We have to do more with less. TABOR is a good law, it’s an effective law. The problem is, the government has been so badly managed, and we have so much waste and inefficiency. We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.” Westword

Jared Polis

“Colorado’s economy may be growing, but you would never know it by looking at our state budget, which grossly under-funds our public schools and roads, and lacks a permanent affordable housing fund. We must tackle the problems created by both TABOR and the Gallagher Amendment to ensure communities across our state have access to great public schools and better roads with less traffic — while making sure Coloradans have a voice in the taxes they pay. I’ve built winning coalitions to take on TABOR at the ballot box — working across the aisle to improve public school funding at both the state and local level. I’m prepared to do the same as governor, and lead a bipartisan coalition at the ballot box to provide our public schools with the resources they need to serve our kids, and to bring free, full-day preschool and kindergarten to every community in Colorado.”  —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Doug Robinson

TABOR is an essential protection for Colorado taxpayers. I am a strong TABOR supporter, and I think it’s a bulwark for our State. If it weren’t for TABOR, we’d be California already.” Doug for Colorado

“I’m always open to bringing game-changing innovation and pragmatic ideas into government, as long as TABOR remains intact. TABOR has protected Colorado from the financial distress that other states are in, and gives citizens the decision on increasing taxes.”  —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Walker Stapleton

“TABOR gives the people of Colorado a real, actionable voice in the governance of our state. This should be celebrated, not lamented. In other states, backroom deals are struck that leave unsuspecting taxpayers on the hook with the bill. In Colorado, the people get to decide whether to increase taxes on themselves, and time and again, the people have shown that at its core, Colorado is a fiscally conservative state. While more can be done within the boundaries of TABOR to protect programs such as higher education, I believe that the people of our state prefer the power that TABOR affords them.”Colorado Public Radio, 2014

Erik Underwood

“I want to repeal the Tabor and Gallagher Amendment. In order to to fix our roads, fund our schools, so that school funding is equitable across this State. The Gallagher Amendment should not be a one size fits all, and should be remanded back down to individual counties across Colorado.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

I will repeal Tabor in steps and stages. We have to get rid of the Tabor Amendment, because it is holding our State back financially. How can we improve our roads and infrastructure here in Colorado, when we cannot even keep the much needed tax revenue for these improvements. Lets also properly fund our schools so all of Colorado’s kids can have a great education in our great economy. Repealing Tabor will help to make this happen.” Underwood for Governor

Photo credit: 401(K) 2012, Creative Commons, Flickr