What is TABOR?
The Tax Payers Bill of Rights (TABOR) is a 1992 amendment to the Colorado Constitution that establishes a revenue limit for local government spending. Under TABOR, a city must obtain voter approval to spend revenues which exceed a specified limit based on 1992 revenues plus adjustments.
For the 2016 fiscal year, Littleton revenues exceeded its TABOR limit by $1,937,904. The excess must be refunded in the next fiscal year unless voters approve the city retaining the revenue.
The Littleton City Council has referred two questions to voters for the November 2017 ballot concerning TABOR.
- The first question, if approved by voters, allows the city to retain the excess revenue to be used for pavement improvements on residential streets ($1,392,904), and intersection safety upgrades at Bowles Avenue and Federal Boulevard ($545,000). If voters do not approve, the excess revenue will be refunded in a manner to be determined. No refund methodology is specified by TABOR.
- The second question concerns adjusting the base used for calculating the TABOR limit. If voters approve the question, the revenue base will be updated to the 2016 level. If voters don’t approve the question, there will likely be excess revenues in future years which cannot be spent to meet city needs.
Any Littleton-registered voter may submit a pro/con statement about the referred 2017 TABOR questions to the city clerk on or before Friday, September 22 at 5 p.m. All statements received by the deadline will be summarized for the Blue Book which provides voters with the text, title, and a fair and impartial analysis of each initiated or referred question on the ballot. It is mailed to every registered voter household.
A Little TABOR History
TABOR is a 1992 amendment to the Colorado Constitution that establishes a revenue limit for local government spending. It is a formula combining the Consumer Price Index and the percentage change in local growth. Since 1994, Littleton voters have approved TABOR questions five times. Projects funded by voter approval have included: safety improvements to Santa Fe Drive; the pedestrian underpass at the High Line Canal and County Line Road; purchase of open space, mini parks and recreation projects; Ketring Lake improvements; street improvements; upgrades to Fire Station #11; installation of a fire-suppression system at Bemis Library; school zone signage conversion to fiber optics; improvements to the fire training burn building; partial funding of fleet building improvements; and museum expansion.
Since 1994, Littleton voters have approved TABOR questions five times. Projects funded by voter approval included:
- safety improvements to Santa Fe Drive
- pedestrian underpass at the High Line Canal and County Line Road
- purchase of open space, mini parks and recreation projects
- Ketring Lake improvements
- street improvements
- upgrades to Fire Station #11
- installation of a fire suppression system at Bemis Library
- school zone signage conversion to fiber optics
- improvements to the fire training burn building
- partial funding of fleet building improvements
- museum expansion