A bill that sponsors say would add revenue to funding for Colorado’s roads and bridges without raising taxes was shelved by Democrats in a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 044 was postponed indefinitely by the Democratic-controlled State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
The bill would allocate 10 percent of revenue from sales and use taxes on vehicles toward the state’s highway users tax fund and local governments. That revenue would be moved from the general fund under the legislation.
A fiscal note for the bill says it would transfer $366.3 million in fiscal 2021 from the general fund to the highway users tax fund, and $380.7 million in the following year.
Let us decipher Matt Gray’s comments (…”we need new revenue to go along with it.”)
with our 6-word analysis:
“We’re going to raise your taxes”
How will Colorado pay for better roads if taxpayers don’t want to pay for better roads?
Don’t believe us? Ask one.
Colorado voters love saying no to giving up more of their money to fix traffic and roads.
Don’t believe us? Look at the state’s history on ballot issues for roads.
Republican lawmakers want to continue using general fund money — the money that the state already collects and spends.
“This building keeps saying to the people of Colorado, ‘give us more money,’ and the people of Colorado are saying, ‘show me you’re going to spend the money we’re already given you on the things we care about, like roads and bridges,'” said Sen. Paul Lundeen, R-Monument.
Lundeen proposed a bill that would have brought back an old Colorado law that used existing money the state already collected.
For years — decades even — Coloradans have called upon the General Assembly to prioritize Colorado’s outdated transportation infrastructure. Our elected officials have for so long kicked this proverbial can down the (potholed) road that the Colorado Department of Transportation now has a backlog of anywhere from $7 billion to $9 billion in projects. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly a fourth of Colorado’s entire budget this year.
We hear it all the time — where are the taxes we already pay going?
The truth is that the legislature has been using your tax dollars as a piggy bank for pet projects instead of utilizing them to fill potholes and add new highway lanes. Pet projects such as Senate Bill 19-173, a $800,000 study on the feasibility of the state government getting involved in your retirement savings, the creation of an “Office of Just Transition” that has been covered extensively in the press, and $6 million for unnecessary census outreach that wasn’t required by the federal government. These have all been priorities of legislative Democrats — not transportation.
DENVER–Governor Polis and the majority Democrats have an ambitious agenda this legislative session. Question is, how will they pay for it all? With the failure of Proposition CC in November, those who were hanging their hats on voters giving up future tax refunds, allowing the state to keep and spend overcollected tax revenue, will need to find new pots of money. Indeed, not only did Coloradans vote to keep the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) revenue limit in place, that limit has been hit and the state income tax rate is actually ratcheting down for the year.
Republican strategist Roger Hudson and Democrat strategist Miller Hudson recently sat down with Complete Colorado editor-in-Chief Mike Krause on the public affairs TV show Devil’s Advocate (airs Friday nights at 8:30 on Colorado Public Television, channel 12) to talk about where Democrats might turn to bring in new revenues. Both agree that one option is more more fee-funded government-run enterprises, which operate outside the TABOR budget cap. Check out the video below to find out more.
Income tax rate reduction bill killed by Senate Democrats
(Photo illustration by Tinnakorn Jorruang, iStock)
Gov. Jared Polis, in his state of the state address on Jan. 9, continued to voice support for the concept of an income tax rate reduction, but it isn’t going over well with Democrats in the state legislature.
And they showed that on Wednesday, when Democrats on the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee put to an end Senate Bill 20, voting it down on a 3-2 party-line vote.
The measure is the second attempt in the past two years from Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling.
Sonnenberg’s bill would reduce the state’s individual and corporate income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.49%. The bill’s fiscal analysis said it would cost the state $143.8 million in lost tax revenue in 2019-20 and $294.6 million the following year.
And because of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), that reduction would be permanent unless voters decided to allow the state to increase income tax rates through a ballot measure.