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November 02, 2011 07:41 PM UTC

Reporters should note that Hick budget chief made same proposal when he worked for Owens

  • 7 Comments
  • by: Jason Salzman

(We call this phenomenon “GOP amnesia” – promoted by Colorado Pols)

In its coverage of the release of  Hickenlooper’s proposed state budget, The Denver Post predicted a partisan battle in the state legislature next year over Hick’s proposal to suspend Senior Homestead Exemption, which gives some seniors a property-tax break and costs the state around $100 million in tax revenue.

As it pointed to signs that the GOP will fight Hick on the Homestead Exemption, The Post noted, as it has in the past, that Republicans themselves previously voted to suspend the same Homestead tax break to seniors.

That kind of context is always a must for journalists, but even more so today with partisanship gone wild and voters baffled by it all.

And in the case of the Homestead Exemption, you can argue that another contextual tidbit is useful to pass on to readers:  Hickenlooper’s current Budget Director, Henry Sobanet, quoted extensively in The Post piece, first proposed this same thing in 2003 when he was Bill Owens’ deputy budget director.

As The Post had the good sense to report when this issue arose in July, Republicans voted for the suspension in 2003, and then they reversed themselves in 2009 and 2010. This is important background whenever Sobanet gets mentioned. He was proposing the same thing, for the same reasons, when he was working for a Republican governor.

And it’s likely we’ll be hearing a lot for Sobanet, as he’s the wonk assigned to deliver the Hick Administration’s view that suspending the Homestead Examption is the only option left, if you don’t want to raise taxes or make further cuts.

The Post’s prediction of partisan fight over the Homestead Exemption looks right, given that Evergreen Republican Rep. Cheri Gerou, Vice Chair of the Joint Budget Committee, told The Post that she was “concerned” about suspending the tax break for seniors for another year.

On Tuesday, The Post quoted from a July statement by House Speaker Frank McNulty, in which, it’s fair to say, he put clamped his teeth down on the Homestead Exemption and promised not to let go:

“The days of balancing Colorado’s budget on the backs of seniors are over,” McNulty declared in a statement in July in the face of improved state revenues. “Tough budget times led to the suspension of the senior homestead exemption. That meant less money for seniors to spend on medicine and food during this economic crisis. This is money we can now get back to them.”

The Post also reported previously, as it did again Tuesday, that House Republicans didn’t specify further budget cuts that they would make if the Homestead Exemption were not suspended, as proposed by Hick. More cuts? Tax increases? The Post has responsibly asked, if you don’t like suspending the Homestead Exemption, what gives?

Comments

7 thoughts on “Reporters should note that Hick budget chief made same proposal when he worked for Owens

  1. That this recession has been worse than 2003? Isn’t it possible that the need among our seniors to retain this money to provide for their basic needs is greater now than it was in 2003?

    It’s so much easier to dismiss Republicans as amnesiac hypocrities I know, Jason.

    1. And if they agree with you, ArapaGOP, then they should also explain how they’re gonna balance the budget. The budget situation is also worse than in 2003.

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