Colorado Republicans Oppose Tax-Cutting Initiatives

Legislative analysts in Colorado predict that voter approval of a trio of initiatives on the ballot in November would force the state to pay $1.6 billion more for its public schools — even as it loses some $2.1 billion in revenue. The prospect of such fiscal upheaval has led even conservatives to denounce the proposals, saying they simply go too far.

The Denver Post reports today (Sept. 13) that 23 of 27 Republicans in the Colorado House of Representatives, and another five of 14 Republicans in the state Senate, have signed a letter to all state Republicans opposing Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101. Democrats already have voiced their opposition to the proposals.

"Yes, these three issues are a direct reaction to poor treatment of taxpayers by Democrats," the GOP lawmakers' letter says. "However, this reaction is so far overreaching that it will ultimately kill Colorado jobs and strip local governments' ability to provide police and fire protection and to educate our children."

Stateline reported on the three ballot initiatives in May , when many state and local officials in Colorado already were sounding an alarm over them. The chief financial officer of the Colorado Springs school system, Stateline noted, calls the proposals the "evil triplets."

Amendment 60 would force school districts to cut their 2011 property tax rates in half by 2020. Amendment 61 would ban the state from taking on new debt and restrict localities' ability to borrow money. And Proposition 101 would eventually cut the income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 3.5 percent. (For a more complete summary of what each proposal does, click here .)

Even with the opposition of many Republicans, the tax-cutting proposals may stand a better chance of success in Colorado than in other states. Colorado, after all, is the home of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, or TABOR, which voters approved in 1992 and sharply limited revenue increases. TABOR has since become nationally known for the spending constraints it places upon government, although it was significantly modified by voters in 2005.

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