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Colorado Expects Tax Surplus From Legal Cannabis, Considers Refund To Taxpayers

Tens of millions of dollars could be refunded to Colorado taxpayers due to taxes made from legal cannabis sales far exceeded initial estimations.

The state’s Office of Legal Services to the Joint Budget Committee released a memo this week stating that if Colorado collects more than $67 million in revenue from pot sales, the overage is required to be refunded to taxpayers, due to the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR).

The most current Department of Revenue estimate forecasts that the state will take in at least $100 million in taxes for 2014, exceeding the estimate by at least $40 million.

The state has a few options to deal with this. One option is to lower the state’s tax-rate on cannabis as to lower the amount of tax revenue brought in for the year to meet the $67 million estimate; another option is to provide a tax refund to either those who have purchased cannabis, or to everyone in the state.

A third option is to put a proposal to a vote of the people this November which asks voters if the legislature can keep the money, to spend as they so choose.

“Ultimately, one way or another, the people of this state are going to have a great say about how this extra money is spent”, says Representative Crisanta Duran, who Chairs the Joint Budget Committee.

“We have to follow TABOR and either take the decision back to the people of Colorado and ask them to keep these dollars or we have to make a refund.”


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