The Aaron Harber Show

"The Aaron Harber Show" hosted a panel of guests to debate Proposition CC, from left, District Attorney George Brauchler, Michael Fields of Colorado Rising Action, Amie Baca-Oehlert, the president of the Colorado Education Association, and Scott Wasserman, president of the Bell Policy Center think tank

Advocates and opponents of Proposition CC on next month's statewide ballot, a measure to decide what to do with revenue that would be refunded to taxpayers under the state constitution, argued the issue on the latest edition of "The Aaron Harber Show."

But the program went live online Tuesday. You can watch it by clicking here. It will also be broadcast on TV Sunday morning.

Proposition CC would allow voters to permanently forgo tax rebates under the state's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, or TABOR, as it's better known.

Most years Coloradans don't get anything from the constitutional measure that puts a cap on growth, based on a formula of inflation and population growth. When the economy is booming, the state must return the money in excess of that cap to taxpayers.

Proponents of Proposition CC want that occasional windfall — estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars in each of the next two years — to be divided equally between K-12 schools, higher education and transportation.

"What Proposition CC is really about is saying is whatever the state collects currently, it gets to keep and spend," Harber explained.

The veteran public affairs host discussed it with Prop CC advocates Amie Baca-Oehlert, the president of the Colorado Education Association, and Scott Wasserman, president of the Bell Policy Center think tank in Denver.

Opposing CC on the show are George Brauchler, the district attorney for Colorado's 18th Judicial District, and Michael Fields, the executive director of Colorado Rising Action conservative advocacy organization.

Proponents argue that they can raise this money without raising tax rates, and the ballot language says as much.

Fields said on the show that take is biased and misleading, however.

"Knowing we have a higher tax liability and knowing the government is going to be keeping and spending more of your money, I think the average person would look at that as a tax increase," he said. "... But the average person, you're going to be paying more (by) not getting those refunds back."

Baca-Oehlert said that 174 of the state's 178 school districts have received voter approval before to keep tax money otherwise covered TABOR money to help local schools.

"We're putting the vote to voters, which is what TABOR asked us to do," she tells Harber. "I think as citizens we should have a right to weigh in on that vote."

Said Wasserman: "The question is, 'Are you willing to defer a very periodic TABOR refund?'"

Out of 26 years since TABOR passed, Colorado taxpayers have qualified for rebates only seven of those years.

Next year, the estimated average rebate per taxpayer is $38.

"The question is would you rather stick those several dollars in your pocket, or would you rather invest in things like roads, in schools and in public colleges," Wasserman said.

Brauchler said voters should ask themselves a different question.

"Has the legislature proven to you that they don't have enough money to spend to get these projects done?" he said, referring to the legislature's ever-expanding $32 billion annual budget.

"My answer is no."

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