TABOR

About TABOR

TABOR, or the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, is an amendment to the Colorado Constitution voters approved in 1992. The amendment limits the amount of revenue a government can collect and spend, and requires voter approval for tax increases and to issue debt and other multiyear financial obligations. Government-owned businesses, or "enterprises," which are funded primarily by user fees, are not subject to these limitations and requirements.

Voters may lift TABOR's revenue restrictions, known as "de-Brucing." Most of Colorado's largest municipalities and virtually all of the state's school districts are exempt from TABOR revenue restrictions. When revenues exceed TABOR limits, the Town has two choices:

  1. Refund the money in some manner
  2. Ask voters to keep and spend the money on local services (up to a year retroactively)

Both options have occurred in Castle Rock the past.

The Town's current TABOR status

Castle Rock voters in November 2021 approved a temporary, 10-year "TABOR timeout." Through 2030, this authorizes the Town to retain and spend any "excess" TABOR revenues solely for:

  • Police
  • Fire protection
  • Emergency medical services
  • Roads and other transportation purposes, including, but not limited to, the Crystal Valley/I-25 interchange

The TABOR timeout only impacts the Town's revenue limit under TABOR. Other aspects of TABOR remain in place, including those requiring voter approval for new taxes and to issue debt and other multiyear financial obligations.

Recent TABOR funds

2022

Due to favorable economic conditions and increased Town revenue, the Town exceeded its TABOR revenue cap for 2022 by $10.2 million. Various factors have contributed to the surplus, including strong sales tax and housing growth. In fairness to the budget process, it's important to disclose that all eligible revenue received during 2022 ultimately contributed to the TABOR surplus.

Given the factors that contributed to the Town's 2022 TABOR surplus and voters' approved uses of the funds, Town Council has approved transferring funds from two sales tax-receiving funds into the TABOR Fund to retain and spend as voters approved in the following manner:

Funding sourceAmount
General Fund$2,767,698
Transportation Fund$7,456,093
Total
$10,223,791


Uses for TABOR fundsAmount
2022 funding for transportation (roads)$2,767,698
2022 funding for public safety (fire and police)$2,246,276
Proposed funding for Crystal Valley Interchange$5,209,817
 Total
 $10,223,791


2021

Due to favorable economic conditions and increased Town revenue, the Town exceeded its TABOR revenue cap for 2021 by $14.6 million. Various factors contributed to the surplus, including strong sales tax and housing growth and open space shareback funds from Douglas County for park improvements. In fairness to the budget process, it's important to disclose that all eligible revenue received during 2021 ultimately contributed to the TABOR surplus.

Given the factors that contributed to the Town's 2021 TABOR surplus and voters' approved uses of the funds, Town Council approved transferring funds from three tax- and impact fee-receiving funds into the TABOR Fund to retain and spend as voters approved in the following manner:

Funding sourceAmount
General Fund$8,500,000
Transportation Fund$5,641,727
Fire Capital Fund$500,000
Total
$14,641,727


Uses for TABOR fundsAmount
Funding for construction of Fire Station 156$6,000,000
Funding for space buildout at Police Headquarters$2,000,000
Funding for wildfire mitigation initiatives$1,000,000
Funding for road/transportation purposes$5,641,727
 Total
 $14,641,727


The Town Attorney has reviewed the sources and uses of funds, and they are in compliance with the voter-approved ballot question.

Town TABOR history

The following TABOR surplus amounts have been rebated to Town residents or retained for purposes authorized by Castle Rock voters:

Year(s)"Surplus"Outcome
1999$455,099refunded
2000$7,467,311refunded
2001$1,264,037refunded
2002 through 2003no surplusn/a
2004$5.4 millionretained
2005 through 2014no surplusn/a
2015$714,580retained
2016 through 2020no surplusn/a