County TABOR hearing today

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Things got heated up this morning as the county weighed in on the Tax Payer Bill of Rights options and listened to what residents had to say at a public hearing.

It was a packed house at the commissioners meeting as the topic of taxes always sparks a debate. The Taxpayers Bill of Rights or TABOR may allow excess tax revenue to be returned to taxpayers.

Concerned taxpayer and retired attorney, Ron Gibbs, wanted the county to consider including local sales tax in their overall revenue limit calculations. Any excess tax revenue whether they are allowed to return it or not is ultimately decided by the public due to TABOR.

“Making sure we had a formal resolution and an agenda item going forward that gives a clearer direction item to staff to include the revenue in the TABOR revenue limit calculation," said Gibbs.

The majority of the public who spoke out the hearing was in favor of the local sales tax revenue being included in TABOR calculations. The commissioners voted unanimously from 2012 forward, they would include tax dollars in their TABOR revenue limit.

This decision changes course from 2007 when the county decided to exclude sales tax from the TABOR revenue. By excluding sales tax the public was hoping for a taxpayer refund and accused the county of not being forthcoming.

“And do what I think is right by the taxpayers of Mesa County which is to refund that money that they withheld in those years under what I consider a pretty shakey legal justification," said Gibbs,

“Clearly we are here in public hearing today taking public comments before we make our decisions and I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned on things that happened in the past and going forward we're a new board with new opportunities and we take transparency very seriously," said County Commissioner Rose Pugliese.

In regard to the previous board of commissioners, Pugliese, says it is very hard for the current board to go backwards and says it's important to focus on what is best for our county and make decisions from today forward.

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