Just weeks before the Colorado Legislature wrapped up its 2015 session, Gov. John Hickenlooper introduced a proposal that, in a few years, would result in the state having more money to put towards transportation and education, but reduce refunds to taxpayers. Though the proposal failed, Hickenlooper said he’ll continue to push it in coming months.The governor had proposed reclassifying a fee paid by hospitals so that it does not count against the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, limit. TABOR dictates that if the state collects more than a certain amount of tax revenue, it must return excess revenue to citizens. Hickenlooper said other fees don’t count against that limit, and the hospital fee shouldn’t either.
The proposal didn’t get any Republican support in the session that ended last Thursday, in part because lawmakers said they didn’t want to take any TABOR refund money back from taxpayers.
Hickenlooper said he took the idea public after months of working behind the scenes to build momentum for it.
“We got to the point where it didn’t seem likely that we were going to achieve a compromise, so we wanted to let the public have a debate, because there are two sides to the argument,” the governor added.
He said he still believes a compromise is possible, and said he will work on that for next year’s legislative session.
Along with the governor’s tax proposal, in his regular conversation with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner, Hickenlooper said he’s “leaning towards a veto” of two bills that could ban red light cameras and photo speeding enforcement. He also talked about his support for ending a ban on crude oil exports and reflected on Denver’s 10-year plan to end homelessness, which started under his leadership a decade ago.