Colorado Supreme Court Upholds Aspen’s Bag Charge

Supreme Court rules charge is not a tax subject to TABOR requirements

Colorado Supreme Court

The Colorado Supreme Court delivered another opinion where it acts as referee on when a charge levied by a municipality is a fee or a tax under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

The court delivered a decision May 21 in Colorado Union of Taxpayers Foundation v. City of Aspen holding a $0.20 charge levied by the City of Aspen for the use of disposable paper bags — the city has banned grocery stores from providing disposable plastic bags — is a fee, not a tax subject to voter approval under TABOR.

The decision written by Chief Justice Nancy Rice found the $0.20 charge is part of a regulatory program for waste management, and the amount has a reasonable relationship to Aspen’s cost of allowing paper bag use.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the May 28, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.