At long last, court hearings begin today in the case of Gov. Bill Ritter raising Coloradans’ property taxes without a constitutional vote of the people.
From the Denver Post:
The freeze is estimated to bring in $117 million this year and $3.8 billion over a decade, up from an initial estimate of $1.7 billion when it was passed.
Richard Westfall, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the two sides will call about 10 witnesses, likely including school finance experts, the state treasurer and school board members. Dreyer said Ritter is not expected to testify.
“A lot of the discussion is going to be about addressing pretty esoteric points in the school finance act,” Westfall said.
The trial is scheduled to last a week. It will be heard by Judge Christina Habas, who was appointed by Gov. Bill Owens in 2003.
If the judge rules against the freeze, the state could have to somehow refund the freeze money it has already collected.
“We think the evidence is very clear,” Westfall said. “The voters didn’t approve it.”
Reminding readers that “it’s not the cash, it’s the constitution,” Jon Caldara’s blog offers updates on this week’s legal proceedings to see who will win Round 1: the Governor or the taxpayers. Regardless, the case will end up being appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.