The intra-GOP fight over House Bill 17-1187, legislation that would refer to voters a change to the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights allowing the state to keep more revenue by basing the caps in the law on personal income growth, appears to be heating up rapidly as the bill heads for passage in the Colorado House. This initiative from two Republican lawmakers, Rep. Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction and Sen. Larry Crowder, marks the first serious attempt from Republicans to address the law’s excesses since 2005’s successful bipartisan Referendum C campaign.
So naturally, right-wing conservative interests led by the Independence Institute are working overtime to peel Republican support off the bill:
In case you have not yet heard: per the request of my constituents I have decided to take my name off HB 1187 and will be voting against it.
— Philip Covarrubias (@PhilipACovarru2) March 3, 2017
That’s GOP freshman Rep. Philip Covarrubias of Brighton today, a Republican lawmaker who had initially supported the plan before…well, somebody called him. It’s possible that he was called by an HD-56 constituent, or a number of HD-56 constituents. Maybe they were constituents encouraged to contact Covarrubias by Jon Caldara.
Or maybe it was just Jon Caldara. In any event, the heat is on Republicans considering this option as a way to address the state’s self-perpetuating budget problems. Despite the plan’s GOP origins, it was always going to be Republican lawmakers who put the kibosh on it–a fate foreshadowed by Senate President Kevin Grantham, who basically dismissed out of hand any idea that would leave the state with more revenue.
And so we see yet another attempt to address TABOR, in exactly the way TABOR prescribes with a vote of the people of Colorado, being scuttled by ideologues who don’t even want voters asked the question. That might not violate the true intention of TABOR’s author, convicted felon tax cheat Doug Bruce, but it’s hardly what the voters wanted when they gave themselves the power to approve tax increases.
If the words people use to glorify TABOR served any real purpose besides obstruction, this would be an outrage.