Update 3: Senate Assistant Minority Leader Bill Cadman says “Managing growing demands on shrinking resources required all sides to offer concessions, and receive consideration through cooperation. Is this budget perfect…no, is it prudent, yes. I am extremely pleased by the ability of all sides to agree on restoring significant dollars to the private sector to invigorate our economy and promote job creation. At the same time we were able to restore hundreds of millions of dollars to our schools.”
Update 2: Speaker McNulty says “House Republicans fought hard for a budget that is honest and responsible, and I am proud to say that our efforts paid off.”
Update: Our friends at the Colorado Statesman tell us it was the software tax, not the Amazon tax. We're hearing competing reports about which one it was. They're wrong about the vendor fees being rolled back years ago. All of which doesn't change the story that Republicans rolled back three highly unpopular taxes.
That is more like it.
After six difficult years of Democrats steamrolling tax and spend measures of all varieties through the Legislature, news is breaking that Republicans won a reinstatement of various tax cuts as part of a budget accord with Senate Democrats and Governor John Hickenlooper this afternoon.
The three tax cuts reinstated as part of the deal — the so-called Amazon tax credit, the vendor-fee sales tax, and a sales tax exemption on agricultural products — amounts to an $80 million tax cut for a range of Colorado businesses.
On a political note, it represents a milestone for the House GOP who earned its majority in large measure as an assault on new taxes and fees levied by Democrats over the last 4 years, especially the so-called Dirty Dozen. Senate Republicans have railed against the taxes too, introducing bills to reinstate the tax credits that were killed by Democratic controlled Senate committees.
Throughout the session, Democrats and liberal groups have stubbornly defended the Ritter era tax increases.
“Allowing a business or an individual to keep its own money and calling it a revenue expenditure is upside-down thinking,” said Delgrosso. “They’ve had several years to run a bill like this—and now they’re choosing to run it? This bill is just a gimmick to appear fiscally responsible.”
Colorado cannot cut its way back to prosperity, and in these difficult economic times, we must all do everything we can to preserve state revenues and provide the maximum amount of flexibility for state legislators to prioritize needs and allocate funds.
From the tax-loving Bell Policy Center's “advice to the JBC”:
A balanced approached to the budget must include options for maximizing potential revenue to the state by extending tax policies approved in the 2009 and 2010 sessions, including the suspension of the sales tax vendor fee allowance and the suspension of the sales tax exemption on cigarette sales.”
Even John Hickenlooper said he supported the so-called Amazon tax, explaining:
Some way we have to get a fair way of taxing everyone evenly. Maybe a value added tax. Right now, people who are tech-savvy are getting a discount.
But all that changed today, as Republicans won a rollback of three of Ritter's most unpopular tax hikes.
Meanwhile, as part of the budget deal, Senate Democrats were able to trim back education cuts, a win for the Democrats for sure, but the final cut we're told still amounts to a whopping hit for the state's otherwise high-dollar K-12 education system.
The Denver Post is reporting that the much-ballyhooed pension reforms that House Republicans were fighting for fell by the way side, but we have not confirmed that.
We have emailed Republican leadership for comment and will post when we hear from them.