Colorado Budget

Colorado Republican Sen. Kevin Priola, left, Democratic House Speaker KC Becker, center, and Democratic Sen. Lois Court discuss a proposed ballot initiative to let the state keep excess tax revenue in Denver on March 20, 2019.

The Colorado House of Representatives has sent a bill to the state Senate that would ask the state's voters whether to surrender potential future tax rebates under the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights for education and transportation.

TABOR, passed by voters in 1992, requires the state to refund excess revenue when it exceeds a cap on the state budget.

House Bill 1257 would set a November vote to steer future refunds into education and transportation. 

After the 41-23 party-line vote in the House Monday, the Senate has 18 days to take up before the May 3 adjournment.

The legislation would put the question on the November ballot directly, bypassing the need to collect more than 124,632 signatures from registered voters.

The refunds are contingent on the economy, and in some years, tax revenue doesn't exceed the cap. This year, however, if the bill were in effect, it would  steer about $65 million in K-12 schools, higher education and transportation, proponents have said.

The bill is sponsored by House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder, and Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, as well as Sens. Lois Court, D-Denver, and  Kevin Priola, R-Henderson. 

Republicans oppose the measure, crediting TABOR and its tax limits for the strong economy.

Assistant House Minority Leader Kevin Van Winkle called TABOR “an important safeguard against government overreach” in a statement in March opposing the ballot proposal.

The Associated Press contributed.

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