Coloradans will receive an average tax refund of $69 each thanks to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the 1992 constitutional amendment that limits state revenue and spending.
In a letter to Gov. Jared Polis and legislative leaders on Wednesday, state controller Robert Jaros indicated Colorado took in $453.6 million more during fiscal year 2021 than TABOR allows. The cap is based on population growth and inflation, and any revenue above that limit is refunded to taxpayers. A surplus can also trigger a temporary income tax rate reduction.
“Our strong economic growth gives us an income tax cut from 4.55% to 4.50% next year," Polis said in a statement. "These tax cuts and refunds are a strong sign that Colorado’s economy is roaring back, I’m excited that Coloradans will get another income tax cut and refund that Coloradans can put toward bouncing back from the pandemic, a night out or groceries."
The Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting calculated that taxpayers who filed income taxes jointly will receive an average of $166 back, while the estimate for those filing singly is $69.
TABOR's constraints on state spending have long frustrated progressives in the state, and there is a lawsuit pending in the federal appeals court that seeks to nullify the constitutional provision. Voters in 2019 had the opportunity, via Proposition CC, to enable the state to retain all revenue that exceeded the TABOR cap and put it toward education and infrastructure, but the measure failed by a margin of 46% to 54%