Pueblo County, Colorado, phases marijuana taxes in

Following the idea of H.R. 1014 by Congressman Blumenauer, which would impose a federal tax starting at 10 percent and rising to 25 percent, Pueblo County, Colorado, voted in November to phase in its marijuana excise tax, with the rate going up every year for five years.

Here are the results: 59 percent yes, 41 percent no. http://county.pueblo.org/government/county/department/clerk-recorder/official-election-results

The official text is downloadable here: http://county.pueblo.org/pueblo-county-ballot-initiatives, and pasted here: 

BALLOT ISSUE NO. 1B:

SHALL PUEBLO COUNTY TAXES BE INCREASED BY $3,500,000.00 (FINAL PHASED IN FULL FISCAL YEAR DOLLAR INCREASE) ANNUALLY AND BY SUCH AMOUNTS AS ARE RAISED ANNUALLY THEREAFTER BY IMPOSING AN EXCISE TAX OF FIVE PERCENT (5%) ON THE FIRST SALE OR TRANSFER OF UNPROCESSED RETAIL MARIJUANA BY A RETAIL MARIJUANA CULTIVATION FACILITY WITH THE RATE TO BE PHASED IN BY STARTING AT ONE PERCENT (1%) IN 2016 AND INCREASING TO TWO PERCENT (2%) IN 2017, THREE PERCENT (3%) IN 2018, FOUR PERCENT (4%) IN 2019, AND FIVE PERCENT (5%) IN 2020 WITH THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HAVING THE AUTHORITY TO INCREASE OR DECREASE THE RATE BEGINNING IN 2020 SO LONG AS THE MAXIMUM RATE IN NO CASE EXCEEDS FIVE PERCENT (5%) AND WITH, STARTING IN 2017, AT LEAST HALF OF SUCH REVENUE TO BE SPENT ON SCHOLARSHIPS FOR RESIDENTS OF PUEBLO COUNTY TO ATTEND COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AND WITH REMAINING PORTIONS TO BE SPENT FIRST TO REFURBISH THE COLORADO STATE FAIR GROUNDS STREETSCAPE, TO BUILD SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL FOR NORTH MESA, SOUTH MESA, AND DESERT SAGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS AND TO DEVELOP A TRAIL MASTER PLAN, TO FUND A RESEARCH GRANT FOR THE STUDY OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA, TO FUND A MARIJUANA COMMUNITY IMPACT, TO FUND A FEASIBILITY STUDY ON EXTENDING AMTRAK’S SOUTHWEST CHIEF TO PUEBLO AND OTHER PASSENGER RAIL EXPENDITURES, TO REFURBISH THE DOME AT THE HISTORIC PUEBLO COUNTY COURTHOUSE, TO BUILD AN OUTDOOR RECREATION PAVILION AT CONFLUENCE PARK, TO FUND A U.S. HIGHWAY 50 ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY, TO FUND LONG TERM PLANNING STUDIES AND CONSTRUCT AN ATRIUM FOR THE ARTS CENTER, TO REPLACE GOLF CARTS AND EXPAND THE CLUBHOUSE AT DESERT HAWK GOLF COURSE, TO ENHANCE THE PLAYGROUND AT BEULAH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, TO REPAIR PUEBLO RESERVOIR BIKE AND HIKING TRAILS AND IMPROVE TRAIL SIGNS, TO ESTABLISH A PUEBLO COUNTY ENERGY EFFICIENCY DEPARTMENT, TO INSTALL RENEWABLE ENERGY IMPROVEMENTS ON COUNTY PROPERTY, AND TO STUDY THE ZINNO SUBDIVISION’S WATER SUPPLY NEEDS AND PURSUE POSSIBLE RELATED IMPROVEMENTS, AND SUCH PORTIONS TO BE SPENT THEREAFTER ON OTHER INFRASTRUCTURE AND PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS, AND THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF EXISTING PROJECTS, AND SHALL PUEBLO COUNTY BE ENTITLED TO COLLECT, RETAIN, AND SPEND THE FULL REVENUES FROM SUCH TAX INCREASE WITHOUT STATUTORY OR CONSTITUTIONAL LIMITATION OR CONDITION, INCLUDING ARTICLE X, SECTION 20 OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION OR ANY OTHER LAW?

 

Pueblo County, Colorado Actual Historical and Current Estimated Fiscal Year Spending Information:

Year                                                               Fiscal Year Spending[1]

2011 (actual)                                                            $78,679,605

2012 (actual)                                                            $78,569,213

2013 (actual)                                                            $79,698,800

2014 (actual)                                                            $83,472,964

2015 (current year estimated)                                    $85,234,969

2016 (estimated)                                                $87,792,018

 

Overall percentage change in fiscal year

spending over the five year period from

2011 through 2015:                                                                        8.3%

 

Overall dollar change in fiscal year spending

over the five year period from

2011 through 2015:                                                               $6,555,364

 

Estimated 2016 fiscal year spending

without taking into account the tax

increase authorized by the ballot issue:                                        $87,792,018

 

Estimated 2016 tax increase authorized

by Ballot Issue 1B:                                                               $3,500,000[2]

 

 

Summary of Written Comments FOR Ballot Issue No. 1B:

 

Retail marijuana grow houses are allowed in Pueblo County, so we might as well benefit from it.  Measure 1B would levy an excise tax on these grow houses. When Colorado voters approved the legalization of marijuana, the tax revenues were to go towards education, and that’s exactly what this measure does.  Any student who graduates from a high school in the City or County of Pueblo is eligible to receive a scholarship to attend local colleges, including Colorado State University – Pueblo or Pueblo Community College.  The revenues are also dedicated to funding 15 additional Pueblo County improvement projects from parks to sidewalks near schools to the State Fair to trails at Lake Pueblo, and the revenues are locked in to these programs so that  politicians can’t change how the money is used.  If 1B does not pass, Pueblo County will not receive any special tax revenue from marijuana grows in our community.

 

 

Summary of Written Comments AGAINST Ballot Issue No. 1B:

 

No comments were filed by the constitutional deadline.

 

[1] Fiscal year spending includes amounts expended by the County for bonded debt service.

[2] The final phased-in (2020) and 2016 estimated tax increase authorized by Ballot Issue 1B is $3,500,000.

 

+++

This web site, www.newrevenue.org, lists several proposals to phase rates in.  Quoting:

H.R. 1014 by Congressman Blumenauer would impose a federal tax starting at 10 percent and rising to 25 percent.

bill in Massachusetts by Representative Rogers and 11 others would tax bud starting at $10 and ounce and rising to $50:

(i) during the first year following the effective date of this act, the sum of $10 per ounce;

(ii) during the second year following the effective date of this act, the sum of $20 per ounce;

(iii) during the third year following the effective date of this act, the sum of $35 per ounce; and

(iv) during the fourth and following years following the effective date of this act, the sum of $50 per ounce.

A similar increasing rate applies to concentrates.

That’s one of five ways listed in the RAND Report for marijuana tax laws to react to the pre-tax price collapse that’s coming.  See pages 88-93.

Advertisements

Author: patoglesby

From 1982 to 1990, I worked in tax policy for Committees of the United States Congress. In recent years, I was Adjunct Lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill's Business School and then Adjunct Professor at its Law School.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s