Can you hear that? It’s the footsteps of Democrats scrambling around the Capitol trying to figure out yet another end run around TABOR in light of news that excess marijuana revenue might lead to a tax refund (gasp!).
State coffers are slated to bring in about $40 million over the Blue Book estimate of Proposition AA, the measure that allowed for the taxation of retail marijuana sales. Under TABOR, that excess cash must be refunded or the tax rate adjusted. If ruling Democrats want to keep the cash, and we suspect they do, then they have to ask for taxpayer permission by way of a referred measure. Interestingly, Rep. Cheri Gerou, a Republican on the Joint Budget Committee, predicts to Fox 31’s Eli Stokols:
“I think probably what’s going to happen is that, internally, the state will try and take care of it,” Gerou said.
“Try to take care of it” means give TABOR the finger and keep the money without voter permission. To be fair, Gerou is probably making that prediction based on experience. She’s watched Democrats try to chip away at TABOR for two decades, so what’s to stop them from trying to go around it this time? In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if conversations have already started in Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office about ways to avoid refunding $40 million to the hard working people of this state.
Whatever your position on recreational marijuana use and retail sales, this issue is about sound fiscal policy. Let’s hope the Governor does the right thing and doesn’t use this as an excuse to whack away at TABOR.