The bipartisan Joint Budget Committee presented a budget to the state legislature that will eliminate the TABOR refund due to Colorado taxpayers next year. Not surprisingly, more than half of the “sacrifices” to fill the nearly $200 million budget hole fell squarely on the shoulders of Colorado’s hard working middle class – $73 million in Tabor refunds not going out next year, and $50 million of road improvements that will not happen.
Discretionary items that took priority over Colorado’s middle class taxpayers include the state’s film tax incentive credit, and Colorado tourism marketing. Interestingly, in the face of the federal courts putting the President’s Clean Power Plan on ice, Governor Hickenlooper could not get his bureaucrats responsible for implementing the CPP included in next year’s budget. Although common sense would dictate (and many states have ordered) “pencils down” on this disastrous regulatory nightmare, Hickenlooper wanted to press on in the face of the CPP’s perilous legal predicament, costing taxpayers millions and businesses even more.
In related news, Governor Hickenlooper is no longer particularly interested in spending political capital to convert the Hospital Provider Fee into a special enterprise fund, because the only point of that maneuver was to exempt the revenues collected under that entity from the TABOR revenue cap, which would have triggered a refund to Colorado taxpayers. Satisfied that the money is now safely out of reach from Colorado working families, Hickenlooper told the Denver Post that this development has “diminished the urgency and critical nature” of his proposed government accounting maneuver.
Color us shocked.