Lawyers for two ex-Colorado governors say Hickenlooper hospital plan is legal
As Coloradans wait for an opinion from Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman over what’s become the biggest political debate in Colorado, two former executive branch lawyers are weighing in with their own conclusion.
At issue is whether it would be constitutional to reclassify a billion dollar hospital program so money generated from it will not push general fund revenue over mandated limits under the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and many Democrats in the legislature want a program called the hospital provider fee redesignated so there’s more money in the budget to fund roads, education and other programs.
In a legal review released today by former attorneys for past governors Bill Ritter, a Democrat, and Bill Owens, a Republican, they say the Hickenlooper plan would be “legally sound and fiscally responsible.”
The lawyers are Jon Anderson and Trey Rogers who worked for Owens and Ritter respectively. They did the legal analysis at the request of a coalition called Fix The Glitch, which is made up of business groups, higher education institutions, and other organizations whose interests stand to lose out.