Colorado’s Democrats are pushing for a $1 Billion personal income tax increase on this fall’s ballot.

Before we rush to approve this 18% increase in individual income tax collection, let’s look at the success Colorado’s revenue collectors have in collecting at the tax rate currently on the books. The table shows the number of Coloradans who felt unable to pay their taxes and therefore had “distraint warrants” filed against their property. 

FY 2010 45,528
FY 2011 62,677
FY 2012 112,554
FY 2013* 62,000

Because individual filings are 98% of all taxable filings, most of these distressed taxpayers are working individuals and families.

What makes us think joy will abound when we start collecting an additional billion bucks? Instead, we should be calculating the thousands of Coloradans who won’t be able to pay.

When the head of the Federal Reserve calls our economy “weak,” why would we raise income taxes on individuals … and let business income taxpayers skate? Is this another benefit Big Business gets for contributing to the Democrats’ 527 political slush fund?

“I don’t think the Fed can get interest rates up very much, because the economy is weak, inflation rates are low. If we were to tighten policy, the economy would tank.”                         Ben Bernanke, Testimony, House Financial Services Committee, 7/17

* Some technical notes. The Department of Revenue automated their distraint warrant filings in FY ’11 to eliminate a backlog, according to DOR’s Sonya Thordsen. FY ’12 doesn’t include backlog cases. FY ’13, which ended June 30, is a “working” number that may change a bit per Jessica Zender of State Judicial. Tax-cutting Gov. Bill Owens’ last full fiscal year saw 9,039 distraint warrants … so we still have about six times as many distressed taxpayers as before our current slow-growth regime. The number of distraint warrants in 2012 equaled 5.8% of all taxable income tax filings, though some distraint warrants are filed for other non-payment issues.