NTUF's Taxpayer Defense Center is suing the Lower South Platte Water Conservation District (LSPWCD) in northeast Colorado, in partnership with the non-partisan Public Trust Institute (PTI), a Colorado-based public interest law firm.
Over the course of one year, property taxes to the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District doubled despite Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), which is designed to prevent such unchecked tax increases. TABOR mandates a ratification vote of any proposed tax increase or new debt taken on by government entities–including water districts, but no vote was held before property taxes were doubled. James Aranci, a Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District resident, contacted the TDC in 2020 seeking the rate be reset and a refund of what was illegally collected.
NTUF's Taxpayer Defense Center is representing Mr. Aranci in his case in order to protect a government overreach in violation of Colorado's TABOR.
Read about the timeline in this Taxpayer Defense Center case here:
May 15, 2023: NTUF Filing: Opening Brief
July 10, 2023: NTUF Filing: Request for Oral Argument
July 10, 2023: NTUF Filing: Reply Brief
As NTUF Senior Attorney Tyler Martinez, the lead attorney in the case, wrote in his analysis:
If the government wins, and a tax increase can occur without the constitutionally-required public vote merely because the district has “varying budgetary needs,” then governments can sidestep TABOR’s ratification mandate at any time. If the Water District wishes to double property taxes, then the voters have a constitutional right to vote on it. Nothing the Water District argued compels any other decision.
We will keep you posted as this case develops.