On his monthly visit to the Mike Rosen Show on 850KOA, Governor Hickenlooper made a major messaging faux pas on the billion dollar tax hike. In response to prodding by Rosen, the governor admitted the second tier of the tax hike represents a whopping 27% increase.

The proposed tax hike tentatively known as Initiative 22 has two tiers, with income under $75,000 going from a taxable rate of 4.63% to 5% and income over $75,000 going from a taxable rate of 4.63% to 5.9%.

Proponents will try to frame the issue as merely a 1.3% increase, which Hickenlooper did initially, but that’s not accurate. As Rosen pointed out, it’s a 1.3 percentage point increase, but the tax bill for income over $75,000 would go up by 27%.

When pressed on that point, Hick admitted Rosen was right. “It is” a 27% increase, the governor acknowledged.

Roll the tape:


Rosen: Their tax rate goes from 4.63% all the way up to 5.9%. That’s a 27.4% increase on income over $75,000.

Hickenlooper: It’s 1.27%, which is what I said.

Rosen: No, that’s 1.27 percentage points.

Hickenlooper: Yes, 1.2

Rosen: Yes, but taking it from 4.63 up to 5.9 is a 27% increase.

Hickenlooper: It is. Well, on those dollars you make over $75,000.

The tax hike was already going to be an uphill battle, but with high profile proponents conceding it’s a 27% tax increase, how in the Sam Hill do they expect to succeed?

UPDATE: It got worse in the interview. After Rosen put the tax increase into real terms for what it would cost Rockies first basemen Todd Helton, Hickenlooper admitted it would be a “steep increase.” That is generally not a term you see in messaging documents for tax hike proponents. Maybe Hick’s support won’t be worth it after all to tax hikers?