In a rather tone-deaf statement during a press conference denouncing Governor Hickenlooper’s proposed budget, Sen. Bob Bacon (D-Fort Collins) declared he and many people he talks to can afford higher taxes. Apparently, Bacon is either deaf, dumb and blind to the massive economic recession that has engulfed Colorado, or he only talks to a very small group of wealthy campaign donors.

Gov. Hickenlooper rightly said when announcing his budget that he sees no appetite for a tax increase, but Sen. Bacon apparently doesn’t read the political environment the same way. With the people of Colorado struggling with under-water mortgages and massive unemployment, clearly higher taxes are something that fits easily into the family budget.

In a press conference that included Senate President Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont), it was interesting that Sen. Bacon was the one to propose a tax increase. Maybe that is because Shaffer is hoping CD 4 gets redistricted to include his house so he can challenge Congressman Gardner. Proposing tax increases is generally not a good campaign theme.

All Shaffer would say about the budget proposal is that he rejects the education cuts proposed, without of course saying where he would make up the $570 million.

Maybe he could ask the people Sen. Bacon talks to for it, because clearly they can afford to pay more.

It’ll be interesting to see how this growing divide between Senate Democrats and Governor Hickenlooper plays out.