This morning, the much-anticipated bill to reinstate a tax exemption repealed last year on some agricultural products, House Bill 1005, passed the House Appropriations Committee on a party-line vote. Democrats are angry about several process items: millions of dollars in additional shortfalls created by the legislation, the rejection of a Democrat-sponsored “pay as you go” amendment that would have required offsetting cuts to be found, and that the bill is being considered removed from the budget process.
Full release after the jump. Says Minority Leader Sal Pace, “I am deeply disturbed that they saw fit to bring this bill forward before we consider the budget. They have no plan for how to pay for this, or the hundreds of millions that they’re proposing in giveaways and special interest tax breaks. If this is a hint at things to come, then the kids and working families of Colorado had better watch out because Republicans seem to care more about helping special interests.”
House Democrats Outraged at Fiscal Irresponsibility of House Republicans
(Denver) – House Democrats today were outraged at House Republicans’ move to reinstate the tax exemption for bull semen. House Bill 11-1005 passed on a party line vote in the House Appropriations Committee this morning. Traditionally, bills with General Fund impacts are not considered by the Appropriations Committee until after the budget, to determine whether there’s enough money to pay for the bill.
The bill will add $1.5 million to an already significant budget shortfall for this year’s budget and $3.5 million next year. This is one of more than 20 Republican bills reinstating or creating new tax breaks for corporations and special interests, all of which will result in more money that will have to be cut from education and health care for Colorado families later on.
In total, the GOP is bringing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of credits, exemptions, and giveaways for corporations, none of which have identified funding sources. Republicans voted party line to defeat common-sense pay-go rules on the House floor just more than a week ago to ensure lawmakers identify replacement revenue or cuts for new programs, credits and exemptions before they pass. Had the pay-go rules been in effect, this bill could not have passed without identifying a funding source.
“Every Republican voted against our common sense pay-as-you go amendment. And now I see why: it’s so they could continue handing out taxpayer dollars to corporations without any accountability whatsoever,” said Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder). “To provide giveaways of taxpayer dollars for bull-semen at a time when we’re facing hundreds of millions of dollars in potential cuts to schools is reckless, and it is wrong. How are we going to pay for this? The answer is this: we’re not. We’ll be forced to take more money out of our children’s classrooms to pay for this tax exemption for bull semen.”
“The Agriculture committee members voted this out of committee on the assumption that Appropriations would find a way to pay for it. One of our members even tried to bring a pay-go amendment. But in passing the bill through the Appropriations Committee, Republicans didn’t let on to how they’re going pay for this,” said House Democratic Leader Sal Pace (D-Pueblo). “I am deeply disturbed that they saw fit to bring this bill forward before we consider the budget. They have no plan for how to pay for this, or the hundreds of millions that they’re proposing in giveaways and special interest tax breaks. If this is a hint at things to come, then the kids and working families of Colorado had better watch out because Republicans seem to care more about helping special interests.”