If you are looking for an opportunity to pay higher taxes, this is your year.
Already on Colorado’s 2016 ballot is a single-payer health plan that would boost the state income tax rate to 14.63 percent, highest in the nation.
On its heels comes a planned initiative sponsored by the Colorado Contractors Association, which wants more money to build roads and mass transit projects.
Not by increasing the state gasoline tax, now 22 cents a gallon, but by increasing the state sales tax, now 2.9 percent, by up to three-quarters of a cent.
The final figure has yet to be determined, said Bill Ray, spokesman for the planned initiative. The organizers have until March 25 to propose their final ballot language.
They are working backwards from a goal of raising $500 million to $600 million more per year, which under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) has to be listed on the ballot question. They will consider the state’s current revenue stream and then figure out how much higher the tax rate must be to raise the money.
If taxes are a must, user-pay levies are generally considered the fairest. Those who drive their cars over the roads pay their taxes at the pump. Those who don’t drive don’t have to pay.
But earlier polling by the CCA determined that an increase in the gasoline tax would be “roundly rebuffed” by voters, said Ray.