The City of Centennial is asking voters for permission to keep and spend all the money it receives, including those dollars over and above that restricted by Colorado's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.
TABOR forces all levels of government to ask voters for permission to keep excess revenues collected under existing tax rates, even if revenues grow faster than the rate of inflation and population growth.
Centennial voters, on two occasions, 2001 and 2003, waived spending limitations on sales, property and use taxes, the city's main source of income.
They also came back in 2006 and approved a temporary waiver on the remaining revenue, but now the city wants to make it more of a long-term deal.
Specifically, ballot question 2D asks that the city be able keep and spend revenue “derived from any and all sources, now or in the future and in excess of the spending or other limitations” set forth by the TABOR Amendment.
About 35 percent of Centennial's revenue stream remains subject to TABOR restrictions and includes money from the Arapahoe County open space sales tax, as well as all other sources of city income, such as developer and building inspection fees and federal and state grants.
However, that waiver would sunset in 2013, pushing Centennial to set a new base year under TABOR in 2013 and face its first possible refund requirement in 2015.
The city says the TABOR limitation complicates the budget process by forcing it to hold money aside in anticipation of an overage and possible refund.
It also points out that in a community of more than 100,000 people, in most cases, the cost to return dollars to taxpayers would exceed the amount of the refund itself.
But arguments filed in opposition of the measure suggest letting the city keep taxpayer money is irresponsible and the problem is easily solved by another temporary waiver.
Should the initiative pass, voters would have to return to the polls to revoke, change or reinstate spending changes.
If passed Nov. 6, the waiver will not raise taxes. It simply lets the city keep and spend current revenue without holding money in reserve in the event a refund is required.