Let’s require a supermajority vote to impose fees (aka taxes) | TheFencePost.com
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Let’s require a supermajority vote to impose fees (aka taxes)

By Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, Colorado District 1 and Rep. Matt Soper, District 54

“Should five percent appear too small

Be thankful I don’t take it all

‘Cause I’m the taxman



Yeah, I’m the taxman” – The Beatles’ “Taxman”

During the Colorado governor’s State of the State Address last month, Jared Polis referenced the Simon and Garfunkel song, “50 Ways to Leave a Lover,” and called on legislators to find 50 ways to save the taxpayers money. The way Polis and his Democrat colleagues in the House and Senate have acted over the last three years, the most accurate song to describe their behavior is The Beatles’ “Taxman.”



At the end of the 2021 legislative session, the creation of six new enterprises resulted in an additional $699 million in new fees being imposed on individuals and businesses. Add this with all other fees created in the last three years and the pending financial burden on Coloradans will be $2.2 billion annually.

In 1992, Coloradoans passed the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, commonly known as the TABOR Amendment. It prohibits tax increases without a majority vote, from Coloradans, consenting to an increased tax.

And yet, in the 2021 legislative session, Democratic lawmakers passed Senate Bill 21-260, the Sustainability Of the Transportation System. This bill skirted around TABOR by referring to the taxes it imposed as “fees.” These fees were placed on many things — food delivery, ridesharing services, and even on gas. Since raising gas taxes would have required asking voters for their consent, Democrats avoided the hassle — and your legal rights — by passing legislation to levy a gas fee, on top of the current gas tax.

SB21-260 is not the only example of taxes Democrats passed under the guise of “fees” in the last session. They also passed SB20-204, Additional Resources to Protect Air Quality Act, the SB20-215, Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise, and the HB21-1208, Natural Disaster Mitigation Enterprise, all of which included fees that voters had no say in.

We have no doubt that this legislative session, we will once again be voting “no” on more legislation sponsored by Democrats to increase fees on Coloradoans without their consent.

Inflation is at a 30-year high, pushing small businesses and families to the brink of financial disaster. Voters should be able to sleep at night knowing that their bank accounts are safe from the overreaching arm of Democrats in the state legislature.

Since it’s only a matter of time before more harmful legislation increasing fees is passed by the Democratic majority, we have introduced House Bill 22-1059, the Two-Thirds Voting Requirement for Bills with Fees. It would require a two-thirds vote in both houses of the General Assembly in order for a bill that creates or increases fees becomes law.

This legislation would not be necessary if Democratic legislators had not invented new ways to violate voters’ constitutional rights and ignore existing law. However, since they have consistently proven to put other interests above the rights of the voters, this legislation is imperative.

The people of Colorado made it clear 30 years ago that they want a say in how much the State of Colorado is taking from their paychecks. Nothing has changed. TABOR remains state law. And voters continue to lose from increased fees passed by creative lawmakers in Denver.

When HB22-1059, comes before the House, we will be showing our commitment to making Colorado more affordable for the people of Colorado and specifically for rural Colorado that has felt the brunt of many of these fees.

It is time for our colleagues in the Legislature to acknowledge that we are here to serve the people of Colorado and ensure their voice is heard — especially on matters relating to their hard-earned dollars.


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