Colorado was already set to return a historically high amount of tax revenue it collected this fiscal year, but now officials predict the number will be even higher.
As of March the estimated figure was over $2 billion. The official figure won’t be out until the 2021-22 fiscal year ends in late June, but the Department of Revenue is “almost certain” the number will come up above the March projection, spokeswoman Meghan Tanis told The Denver Post.
That means taxpayers can expect a higher refund — potentially more than $500 per person.
The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, better known as TABOR, requires the state to refund money that falls above a cap, which is calculated based on whether revenue collection is made by the population. more than growth and inflation. The state doesn’t usually assume the cap set by the cap, but this fiscal year — and last fiscal year, and likely next fiscal year — it does, so Colorado must give revenue back to the people.
Democrats, as a general rule, feel they can do more for the state by using the above cap money in the state budget than sending back personal checks. But Tabor is in the state’s constitution, approved by voters, so Democrats can’t do much more than play by the rules for now.
But those rules give lawmakers wide discretion about how to get the money back, though not. Democrats control every level of state government, and they have decided to return the money via flat checks scheduled to go out at the end of the summer. This is a change in the existing schedule, which would have sent the vast majority of above-cap revenue from the 2021-22 fiscal year through a six-tiered schedule, which sees those with higher incomes get the most money back.
Last month, Democrats and Democratic Gov. Jared Polis announced that instead of sending the bulk out through six levels, he would do so by sending $400 to all, or $800, for joint filers. And instead of waiting until the next tax season to do so, he said, they would send the money by early September in postal checks signed by the state treasurer.
It will be enacted by a Democrat-led bill, SB22-233, which has just passed the legislature and will soon be signed into law. Expecting the TABOR limit to be over $2 billion, lawmakers amended the bill before passing it to allow the check to exceed $400 and $800 if revenue is actually higher than previously planned. .
In a press conference Friday at the Capitol, Governor Jared Polis said a matter of fact, rather than an estimate, that Coloradans would receive “at least” $500 individually and $1,000 for joint filers.
In this election year, Democrats are trying something new by sending out checks months before next year’s tax season, and by publicizing a projected increase in refunds by nonpartisan staff before formally distributing the June forecast.