Procedural Guarantees

National Federation of Independent Business v. Williams

Colorado evades state Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights

Colorado voters added the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to their state constitution to ensure voter approval of all state and local tax increases. Government frequently attempts to dodge this provision by characterizing charges as “fees,” which do not require voter approval. The difference between a tax and a fee is that a fee defrays the cost of providing a service and a tax does not. Less than 15% of Colorado’s business and licensing charges are dedicated to drefraying the cost of operating the Business and Licensing Division of the Department of State; the vast majority subsidizes general services. The National Federation of Independent Business sued to invalidate the charge as a tax that was enacted without voter approval. PLF filed a brief in support of the challenge.

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