House speaker predicts some action needed on pot taxes

DENVER—Colorado's Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) predicted Wednesday that legislative action would be needed to deal with an expected overage of marijuana taxes this year.

The state may have to refund a projected $55 million in marijuana tax under a provision of the taxpayer bill of rights (TABOR,) which requires refunds when a new tax raises more money in its first year than predicted in the guide given to voters.

A refund is expected if no action is taken, but Ferrandino indicated that lawmakers will likely feel the need to act.

They have the option of lowering the tax rate on marijuana so there aren't excess taxes, or going to the ballot and asking voters to keep the money raised by pot sales.

"I do think most of the voters would say 'yes, we thought we would retain everything we took in from marijuana tax,'" Ferrandino said. "Some of the people in this building are advocating to go to the ballot because of that sense, and others are advocating different. And we'll see where we end up by the end of session."

The TABOR issue would only force a refund in the first full year of marijuana taxes (July 2014 – June 201.)

For following years, the tax could be kept by the state without need for additional voter approval.


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