Colorado's marijuana money problem will be difficult to solve – Colorado Springs Gazette
Colorado has a serious pot money problem.
And it’s not that it’s being laundered.
The state is on track to have to refund the revenue it generates this fiscal year from two voter-approved retail marijuana taxes: the 10 percent sales tax and 15 percent excise tax were intended to pay for school building construction and the enforcement and regulation of the drug’s new market.
“The real problem is the economy was growing while we had the gall to ask for a new tax,” said Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver.
The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights demands newly approved taxes be refunded if overall state revenue exceeds what was presented to voters in the blue book – the state’s good-faith effort to let voters know what their vote means, Steadman said.
So even though there’s likely to be slightly less revenue than projected on the ballot issue in 2013 when voters approved the two tax rates, overall state revenue has grown so much that voters must get the option to say whether money from newly implemented taxes must be returned.
“The bottom line is that people have already voted at least once – if not twice – for taxes on marijuana, and we’ve got to do something to make sure that the will of the voters is actually respected,” said Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont. “This is an unfortunate insidious TABOR loophole.”
Singer, who has worked on several marijuana issues, said he hopes to be the House sponsor of a legislative fix.
Steadman, a ranking member of the Joint Budget Committee, is drafting a bill that would put the issue on the ballot asking voters if the state can keep the roughly $60 million projected to be brought in by the taxes before the fiscal year ends July 1.
The taxes brought in $37.6 million as of January.
The bill – there’s no number for it yet because nothing has been introduced – is a complicated bit of tightrope walking.
Hypothetically, if voters say no, the state will lose big, not just missing out on increased revenue but because it will have to dig into the coffers to make things … – Click Here To Visit Article Source