(Maths! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Sen. Tim “Pa” Neville, Rep. Patrick “Boy” Neville.
Colorado lawmakers have a surprise pot of extra tax money, and Republicans are proposing to use it both for a tax cut and to fix roads. Double spending.
The GOP bill to fix roads, through bonding, would cost about $350 million.
But Republicans are also saying, correctly, that the $200 million in new state revenue, which mostly came from changes in federal tax law, is actually a tax increase.
Republicans, led by State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling are so angry about Trump’s sneaky (an inadvertent) tax increase, triggered by the tax-cut law, that they want to return the money to taxpayers, via a $360 million state income tax cut, which would eclipse the surplus taxes at least for next year.
Another bill proposed by state Rep. Patrick Neville (R-Colorado Springs) and State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) would cut state income tax even more, by $1.1 billion next year.
So, if both their transportation and income-tax bills passed, the GOP proposal to fix roads would have to rely on budget cuts, as it did last year, which they have yet to identify–though RTD’s puny BUSTANG bus service, costing about $3 million annually, would likely be included on their hit list.
As an aside, the GOP’s proposed income tax deduction, in response to a one-time tax windfall, permanently lowers taxes, taking $350 million away from state budget priorities, like transportation, health care, higher ed, etc., into perpetuity.
This story starts with House minority leader Patrick Neville’s promise back in December to spend “new revenue” on roads.
“Roads are our top priority,” he said in a December statement, “and there is no reason why nearly all of this new revenue should not go to widening highways and expanding primary arteries. I have heard the governor and Democrat leadership say they agree roads are their top priority as well. With all this new revenue for the upcoming budget, it’s time to see if they are willing to walk-the-walk, so that we can relieve our citizens of congestion and truly unleash our economy.”
Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham made much the same argument on the opening day of the legislative session:
“I’m still willing to sit down and talk to [Democrats], but when you have a gift (the expected revenue surplus) all packaged up for ya that is the $100 million, $200 million, whatever, not counting the potential savings coming in from the Washington, D.C., tax cuts and the surplus we might see from that, if it doesn’t happen now under these circumstances, then when?” Grantham told fellow lawmakers at the state Capitol.
So then what happened?