Uh oh. Is there trouble in tax hike city? Is Governor Hickenlooper, reeling from fresh polls showing his political standing dropping like a rock, suddenly feeling reticent when it comes to the coming tax hike campaign?
Last Friday, the president of the largest teachers union in Colorado, the Colorado Education Association (CEA), took to Twitter to push Hickenlooper to put his full weight behind the billion dollar tax increase associated with the bill he signed, SB213.
— Kerrie Dallman (@KerrieDallman) June 14, 2013
Beyond the irony of a teachers union leader having serious issues with basic English grammar, the real news is that she felt it necessary to take her concerns public. Why might that be?
Less than a month ago, while signing SB213, Hickenlooper pledged to support any tax increase ballot initiative that backers came up with. Reported the Durango Herald’s Joe Hanel at the time:
Hickenlooper pledged Tuesday to campaign for the tax increase once the sponsors pick a single initiative.
Then, suddenly, two weeks later Hickenlooper was reportedly “ambivalent” about the plan to raise taxes. As reported by Ed News Colorado:
Gov. John Hickenlooper said Wednesday he’s still “ambivalent” about his preference among 16 proposed ballot measures that would raise additional state funds for K-12 education.
Asked about it during a meeting with reporters, Hickenlooper kind of sighed and said, “I would have to say I’m ambivalent” because each proposal has pros and cons.
“We’re trying to sort through what is best for Colorado,” he said.
It’s not like Hickenlooper has to worry about all 16 proposals now. As Complete Colorado’s Peter Blake scooped last week, Team Tax Hike has decided on a two-tier tax hike, raising rates to two different levels.
Hickenlooper’s squishiness is nothing new. The governor doesn’t do hard decisions. He may, however, have a harder time backing off his promise this time. Liberal groups are looking at spending a serious sum of money to support the tax increase on the ballot. We can’t imagine they’ll sit idly by if Hickenlooper doesn’t offer his full-throated support as promised.
More interestingly, though, is what Dallman’s tweet suggests about Hickenlooper’s decision making process.
Surely, the president of the teachers union can find out privately where Hickenlooper stands on the tax increase. After all, it’s the organization that hosts the Monday morning meeting for legislative Democrats and spends countless millions every election cycle getting Democrats in office.
If Dallman can’t find out privately, that’s surely newsworthy.
If she can, but still feels it necessary to ask publicly, that also seems newsworthy. What is going on in Hickenlooper’s political world where a nominal ally feels it necessary to take to Twitter to get answers about basic policy positions?