Taxes | KUNC


Devin Borvansky
Matt Bloom / KUNC

Before the call came, Chuck Cerasoli had poured his second cup of black coffee, finished settling into a leather armchair and taken a few deep breaths. He made it to the start of a training on pain management for the staff of the Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue, where he works as deputy fire chief for a sprawling area that includes one of the state's largest ski resorts. He even had a chance to eat his breakfast — a rare feat.

Then the ping of an alarm echoed through the firehouse's halls and into the living room where he sat. Cerasoli knew as soon as he heard the four high-pitched beeps: the first emergency of the day had arrived.

Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

Colorado's Supreme Court says proponents of a ballot initiative to eliminate constitutional limits on taxation and spending can proceed.

The court ruled 5-2 in an opinion released Monday that elections officials erred in rejecting the proposed 2020 ballot initiative.

Ken Lund / CC BY-SA 2.0

A House committee on Monday advanced a bill to ask Colorado voters if the state can retain excess tax revenue and a companion bill that would spend that revenue on roads and schools.

The House Finance Committee votes came after Democratic Speaker KC Becker argued the state should do all it can — especially at a time of sustained economic growth — to address Colorado's chronically underfunded transportation and education needs.

Updated at 4:39 p.m. ET

President Trump promised that his tax changes, passed in 2017, would give most Americans a tax cut.

However, as the first federal returns for 2018 come in, some taxpayers are discovering an unpleasant surprise: Their refunds are smaller than expected. In fact, as of Feb. 1, the average refund is down by about 8 percent from the same time last year, according to the IRS.

Ken Lund / CC BY-SA 2.0

Senate Democrats have rejected a GOP proposal to reduce Colorado's individual and corporate income tax rate.

The proposal, sponsored by Republican Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Rep. Rod Pelton, had won initial support in a tweet from Colorado's new Democratic governor, Jared Polis.

Colorado Politics reports the Senate Finance Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to defeat the bill.

Northern New Jersey is one of the highest-taxed places in the country. So a tax cut sounds great to a lot of people there.

But the House Republican plan being debated this week may actually raise the taxes of many people in the region.

"I was hoping they would give us more things to deduct on our tax returns, honestly," says Kassie Smith, a resident of Westfield, New Jersey. Smith is a bookkeeper and her husband is an auto mechanic. They pay nearly $12,000 a year in property taxes.

Ken Lund / CC BY-SA 2.0

Two Republican and two Democratic lawmakers.

Another 96 legislators.

Nearly 175 lobbyists and lobbying firms.

More than 150 lobbying clients, including hospitals, local governments, school districts, unions, contractors and more.

That’s the intense involvement that went into last spring’s legislative grand bargain called “Sustainability of Rural Colorado.”

But one of the most heavily lobbied bills of the session ended up with a significant error that is costing Colorado entities hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.

Eddie Welker / Creative Commons license

If you’re in Boulder and buying soda for the Fourth of July, it could cost considerably more than just a few days ago. The city’s tax on beverages with added sugar -- like soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and sweetened teas and coffees -- went into effect July 1.

Because it’s the highest of its kind in the country, all eyes are on Boulder to see how it works.

Jim Hill / KUNC

President Trump’s infrastructure plan dramatically cuts the federal government’s investment in road and transportation projects and instead calls upon states and corporations to shoulder most of the cost. Funding for the proposal would come from $200 billion in tax breaks over nine years that would then — in theory — leverage $1 trillion worth of construction. That could include mortgaging public buildings or public-private partnerships, which usually means toll roads.

But that plan won’t work in Colorado -- the state has already done it.

Grace Hood / KUNC

Colorado’s 2017 legislative session has barely begun and lawmakers are already proposing diverse solutions for funding the state’s public schools. Most plans involve a new tax or a tax increase, meaning voters will likely get the chance to weigh in down the road.

Colorado chronically lags behind most of the nation in per-pupil funding, and also falls below the funding levels required in the School Finance Act. This year, an $876 million shortfall is expected according to projections from the governor's office, up from $830 million last year. This marks the 7th year in a row where the state's schools are funded at recession levels.