Hickenlooper Sees A ‘Conflict’ Between TABOR And Gallagher. What Does His Challenge Mean For Coloradans?

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Photo: Douglas Bruce, TABOR, 1992 (Courtesy)
Douglas Bruce, a driving force behind the Taxpayer's Bill Of Rights, celebrates the amendment's passing in November 1992. Critics say it now limits how much money is spent on education in Colorado.

In the final days of his administration, Gov. John Hickenlooper has leveraged a challenge against two tax amendments that could impact virtually every Coloradan.

The governor wants the Colorado Supreme Court to weigh in on the relationship between the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and the Gallagher Amendment. The document submitted to the justices said the state is “facing a constitutional conflict” that is creating statewide impacts.

Gallagher requires that residence owners pay 45 percent of all property taxes and that commercial property owners pay the rest. TABOR requires that tax increases be approved by voters affected by them.

Calling it an "irreconcilable conflict," Hickenlooper said the combined effect of the amendments have reduced funding for some agencies, including rural libraries and fire departments.

Todd Saliman was the budget director under former Gov. Bill Ritter and is currently CFO of the CU system. Saliman talked to Colorado Matters about Hickenlooper's move and what changes could await Coloradans if the state justices agree to consider the questions.