Cannabis in Colorado Investigation: Where is the marijuana tax money?
Colorado voters are deciding, for a third time, if the state tax money from marijuana sales should be spent on school construction.
Another vote is happening because state revenue in the past fiscal year exceeded the amount state economists forecast. Instead of $12.08 billion, it came in at $12.35 billion, off by $270 million. According to the state budget committee, in this rare case, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights requires voters to decide if they want money from the state's newest tax, marijuana, refunded.
Tim Hoover, with the left-leaning Colorado Fiscal Institute says it's important to point out to voters that TABOR is unfairly targeting marijuana tax money. Pot tax revenue for the past fiscal year, $66.1 million was lower than the $67 million the state predicted.
"They need to understand that the pot tax revenue didn't exceed any limit, it actually came in lower than the estimate. It is just the victim of, frankly, a TABOR drive by," said Hoover.
John Caldera, President of the conservative think tank the Independence Institute, says there's nothing wrong with going to the voters again.
"It's the simplest, most polite, most honest thing to do," said Caldera. "If you're going to treat the citizens like the people in power, which they are supposed to be, you merely ask them, that's all this (the marijuana vote) is."
KRDO NewsChannel 13 found that when it comes to the $66.1 million dollars in pot taxes the voters may want refunded, it's not all there. State records show, $27 million has already been spent on school construction, under what's called the BEST program. Other money went toward law enforcement and pot education -- efforts to keep kids off drugs.