SB 128 - Legislative Approval for State Agency Fee Increase
Sponsored by Senator Bob Gardner & Representative Larry Liston
From hunters and fishers to business owners, all Coloradans understand the “necessary” evil of paying a fee for various services. Sometimes it’s a fee that you might expect, like the $26 fee paid to purchase or renew your driver’s license. Other times, the fee is more discreet, such as the Healthcare Affordability and Sustainability Fee (formerly known as the Hospital Provider Fee) which is assessed by most hospitals—to the surprise of most patients. Unlike taxes, which can only be increased if approved by the voters, most fees assessed by the state can be increased by a state agency, without approval of the voters or even the General Assembly.
Thanks to state Senator Bob Gardner, state agencies might be required to ask permission from the Colorado Legislature before it can increase fees. Senate Bill 128 would require the agency to justify the need for a fee increase by outlining the exact uses of fee revenue as well as the potential impacts on taxpayers if the request is denied. The bill gives Coloradans a greater ability to follow their money through state government, and allows them to tell their elected officials when enough is enough.
SB-128 passed the Senate on Wednesday, February 21st.
SB 061 — Reduce the State Income Tax Rate
Sponsored by Senators Grantham & Sonnenberg
With monumental growth of Colorado’s economy comes continued efforts to expand state government. The proposed state budget for the upcoming fiscal year breaks $32.0 billion, about double the size of the total budget from ten years ago. The fact that the state has benefited from unrestrained revenue collection is a slap in the face to the people who contribute so much to making the state one of the most attractive in the nation.
Taxpayers might see some relief, though, if Senate Bill 061 becomes law. The bill, carried by Senate President Kevin Grantham and Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, would lower the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.43%.
The small percentage point reduction might seem trivial at first thought. But when the opportunity arises to save a few bucks, do any of us really shy away from it? $20 from the electric bill each year, a grocery bill that comes in $12 lower than normal, paying $10 a month for Netflix instead of $90 for cable—these are all savings that most Coloradans rejoice in.
An average household in Colorado making the median annual income of $62,520 paid roughly $2,894.68 in state income taxes in 2016. Under SB-061 that same household would have saved $125 in 2016—read, enough to put toward monthly car insurance, a lift ticket, or any of the various expenses that we face.
Colorado Taxpayers Advocate Fund, Inc. exists to educate citizens and Colorado public officials on issues of public policy so they can, if they choose, make a difference in their community on issues affecting their city, state, and even their country at large.