Colorado’s tax on cannabis has reaped a lot of cash, an extra $58 million dollars’ worth. Now what are we going to do with it?
The Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Right, also known as (TABOR) mandates voter approval of taxes gained in excess of projected amounts. That means that the state’s revenue is constitutionally limited and so is the revenue from new taxes. We have to OK any excess taxes gained, or they get refunded. Some proponents of TABOR think it wastes time, money and stifles growth by not allow for needed taxes to fund schools, transportation and other state needs, without a wasteful legislative process.
The language as it appeared on the TABOR ballot:
“Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution to require voter approval for certain state and local government tax revenue increases and debt; to restrict property, income, and other taxes; to limit the rate of increase in state and local government spending; to allow additional initiative and referendum elections; and to provide for the mailing of information to registered voters?"
When Colorado’s Amendment 64 was passed, in 2012, cannabis was approved for non-medical legal sale to legal adults over 21 years old. Then in 2013 Proposition AA allowing an excise and sales tax on cannabis sales. The state’s voters were giving estimates of the taxes to be gained and constitutional spending limits for the 2014-2015 state budget.
The actual taxes gained were in excess of the planned budget and all of this gave rise to House Bill 15-1367, the state’s way of trying to hang on to the much needed tax money, and that is where Proposition BB came from.
The bottom line is Proposition BB needs voted on, and there are pros and cons to both sides of the issue. Decide for yourself as to where the extra tax money should go.
Proposition BB if it passes would:
$40 million will be spent on school construction through the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program; and
$12 million will be spent to fund the following state programs:
$2.5 million to marijuana education;
$2 million to school bullying prevention;
$2 million to grants for programs to prevent students from dropping out of school;
$2 million to youth mentoring services;
$1 million to poison control centers;
$1 million to local government marijuana impact grants;
$500,000 to substance abuse screening, intervention, and referral;
$500,000 to substance abuse treatment;
$300,000 to the Future Farmers of America and 4-H programs at the Colorado State Fair;
$200,000 to training peace officers to recognize impaired drivers;
Proposition BB if it fails would:
If voters do not pass Proposition BB, marijuana tax revenue collected during the first full year of the new Proposition AA taxes must be refunded. The refund plan is as follows:
$25 million will be refunded via a rebate averaging $8.00 to each full-time Colorado resident who files a 2015 state income tax return;
$24 million will be refunded to marijuana cultivators that paid this much in excess tax; and
$17.1 million will be refunded to retail marijuana purchasers through a temporary reduction in the retail marijuana sales tax rate.
As final numbers for the 2014-15 fiscal year are still coming in, the remainder of the refund has not been allocated yet.