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Governor Polis renames TABOR refunds in election year maneuver: 'A rose is a rose'

TABOR refund checks are in the mail for Coloradans
TABOR refund checks are in the mail for Coloradans 03:09

Gov. Jared Polis is defending his branding of TABOR refunds as Colorado Cash Back.

"A rose is a rose," Polis said at a press conference Wednesday where he announced the checks were in mail. Polis is using TABOR refunds to his benefit in an election year even though he's railed against TABOR for years and pushed to pass Proposition CC, which would have eliminated the spending caps, right after he was elected governor. 

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"The press is calling it Colorado Cash Back," Polis said at the event, where the press called him out for his duplicity. "You're caught up on accounting procedures when we're celebrating Coloradans getting $750 or $1,500 back rather than the government sitting on their money." 


Polis and the Democratically-controlled legislature did adjust the timing of the refunds. Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl says he did it to help his re-election not Coloradans cost of living.

"He needs to be straight with people of Colorado. What he did is move the TABOR refunds up right before election. I'm surprised he didn't put the checks in with the ballots."

Ganahl chaired the campaign opposing Prop CC. Polis now says he doesn't oppose all of TABOR.

"I support elements of it like the right to vote on tax increases."

"That is ridiculous," Ganahl said. "Look how many fees were put in place since he's been governor."

Common Sense Institute says enterprise revenue, which makes up 40% of the state budget and is largely funded by fees, grew by $11 billion between 2019 and 2021. 

"People are hurting in Colorado," Ganahl said. "Don't play funny money with people right now. Be honest, authentic and up front. This is about TABOR. It's about their money, giving them their money back, not Colorado giving cash back from the government. That's a joke."

Individual filers will receive $750 by the end of August. Joint filers will get $1,500. Changing the timing of the checks wasn't cheap. It's expected to cost the state nearly $3 million in staff and postage. In addition to providing the refunds earlier, Polis and the legislature also changed the formula to increase refunds for lower income earners at the cost of higher income earners.

RELATED: State of Colorado sending out TABOR refund checks. Don't accidentally throw the envelope away!

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