The state of Colorado has an interesting problem on their hands: the marijuana business has been too good. The state has accumulated more than enough taxes that they were meant to collect from their Coloradans. This conflicts with the state’s constitution, which states that there is a limit to how much tax money can be collected before it has to be given back.
Because of the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (1992), voters must sign off on all new taxes. The amendment also states that Colorado must pay back taxpayers when the state collects more than what is allowed. The state has refunded citizens over $3.3 billion because of this rule on six different occasions.
Now, taxpayers may have to vote on the issue for a third time; the first was in 2012 (after the legalization of marijuana) when Coloradans voted for a 15 percent excise tax on pot for schools and again for an additional 10 percent sales tax for lawmakers.
In rare (but refreshing) occasion, Democrats and Republicans agree that this is a difficult decision and are trying to find a way not to have to give the people millions of dollars back.
“I think it’s appropriate that we keep the money for marijuana that the voters said that we should,” said Republican Senate President Bill Cadman. However, citizens of the state are more torn than the politicians; some want their money back while others don’t mind paying the tax as long as the money is going to schools (which was the original plan for the money). The added tax money is being used for drug education classes and police training to identify stoned drivers.
However the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights makes this difficult and the Centennial State may just have to roll out the dollars. There’s no definite numbers as of yet, but budget writers are saying the weed refunds can be about $30.5 million (or $7. 63) for every adult in the state. — Cook T.P.
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