Democrats in Colorado have stumbled into their biggest political blunder in decades.

Last spring they passed SB-260, a transportation bill signed into law by Gov. Polis that used a legally dubious maneuver to bypass voters and increase taxes by reclassifying them as “fees.”

Among those is a new gas tax that kicks in next July.

All these new projects will be paid for by a series of new fees, including:

  • A fee on gas purchases, which will grow from 2 cents per gallon starting next July to 8 cents per gallon in 2028. It will increase with inflation after that

  • A 27-cent fee on retail deliveries from companies like FedEx, Amazon, GrubHub and Instacart

  • A 30-cent fee on most rides from apps like Uber and Lyft, although it’s only 15 cents for electric vehicles and shared rides

  • Higher registration fees for electric vehicles, equivalent to a roughly $5 increase next year, since electric vehicle drivers use the roads but don’t pay gas taxes or fees. 

Much to the media’s dismay Colorado Republicans responded in August by making it clear in no uncertain terms they oppose increasing prices at the pump.

It’s only October, but Democrats have to be regretting their boneheaded move to increase gas taxes.

The price of gas has surged to a seven-year high, and there’s no sign inflation will subside any time soon.

Combined with price spikes across a variety of goods, inflation is hitting Americans’ wallets and threatening the economic rebound heading into the 2022 midterm elections. 


Voters are increasingly blaming Biden for the spike in prices: 66% of respondents in an early October survey conducted by CBS News blamed U.S. government policy for inflation, and 60% said the administration is not focused closely enough on the issue. 

Inflation and rising gas prices are so out of control they’re dominating the conversation everywhere from national morning shows to presidential town halls.

The White House is flummoxed by the issue, but one thing Democrats in Washington did make clear this year is they understand increasing gas taxes would be politically toxic.

Here are just a few of the highlights of Washington Democrats’ commentary on the federal gas tax when it was being discussed, in regards to the infrastructure bill last June:

“The President has been clear throughout these negotiations: He is adamantly opposed to raising taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said. “After the extraordinarily hard times that ordinary Americans endured in 2020 — job losses, shrinking incomes, squeezed budgets — he is simply not going to allow Congress to raise taxes on those who suffered the most.” […]


Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that indexing the gas tax to inflation was a nonstarter for him.


“It’s another hit on working people,” Wyden said.

“Coming to an ad in Colorado near you” might sound cliche, but we’re betting that’s precisely what’s going to happen here.

It’s not clear what Polis and his merry band of imbeciles in the General Assembly thought they were doing, but they set themselves up as the poster children for every upset voter over the price of gas heading into the 2022 midterms.

Not only will the right flay the White House on inflation and gas prices nationally, but every Colorado Democrat who supported increasing the gas tax, including Polis, will be forced to eat their party’s own words.

Democrats like U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet will be forced to explain whether they too support their party’s move — as the White House put it — to “raise taxes on those who have suffered the most.”

It will be fascinating to see what futile gestures Colorado Democrats come up with during next year’s legislative session. However, there really isn’t much Democrats can do without completely gutting Polis’s signature transportation law.

High gas prices are Democrats’ problem alone politically. In 2022, they’ll get to experience the consequences.