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October 27, 2023 05:15 AM MDT

Republican Legislators Prove (Again) to Be Completely Clueless

  • by: Colorado Pols
Republicans are mad as hell and they’re…wait, what are we talking about again?

Proposition HH, one of the two statewide measures on the ballot in 2023, has been generating a lot of media coverage lately — in no small part because there’s not much else to really talk about in this election cycle that affects everyone in the state.

If you’re unfamiliar with Prop. HH or just need a refresher, The Denver Post has about the best explainer we’ve seen:

Proposition HH is a complex measure that, if it passes, will have lasting impact for property taxpayers, the state’s tax refunds and local governments. Gov. Jared Polis and his Democratic allies in the legislature are backing HH, which seeks to blunt property tax increases and shore up local governments by increasing the cap imposed on state tax collections by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

Proposition HH has been endorsed by newspapers across the state, from The Denver Post to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. The Post has also been diligently fact-checking the many dubious claims being made by opponents of Prop. HH.

Republicans are opposed to Prop. HH mostly because big donors and groups like “Americans for Prosperity” and “Advance Colorado” told them that they are opposed to the measure. They clearly have NO IDEA why they don’t like it other than grumbling something about protecting TABOR at all costs.

Earlier this week, Colorado legislative Republicans held a press conference to denounce Prop. HH; demand that Gov. Jared Polis call a “special session” to deal with the property tax issue (nevermind that the legislature already dealt with this issue, which is how we ended up with Prop. HH in the first place); and offer their own alternative plans, which hilariously included several things that Prop. HH would already address.

It’s almost like Republican lawmakers fell asleep sometime during the last legislative session and just woke up a week ago.

[mantra-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”60%”]“…if you unpack the three GOP proposals unveiled Wednesday, you’ll see that critical fine print is lacking.”

— The Colorado Sun (10/27/23)[/mantra-pullquote]

As The Colorado Sun explains today in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter:

The first bill would make the senior homestead property tax exemption portable and increase it to a maximum of $200,000 from $100,000, which state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer estimated would cost the state roughly $175 million to reimburse local governments for their lost revenue. That money would come out of the TABOR surplus.

Ironically, that’s about the same amount Proposition HH would raise the TABOR cap by in the current fiscal year — so in the first year of the expanded benefit it would have the same effect on lowering TABOR refunds as Proposition HH. [Pols emphasis]

Sure, let’s listen to THESE geniuses.

This Republican-proposed “legislation” would make the senior homestead exemption “portable,” which allows older Coloradans to continue to claim that tax exemption even if they move to a new home. PROPOSITION HH ALREADY DOES THIS.

The GOP proposal, however, would increase the amount of the tax exemption. How would Republicans propose paying for this?

Wait for it…

…By dipping into the TABOR surplus, which is one of their primary complaints about Prop. HH in the first place.

The second bill would offer the same property assessment rate reductions and value exemptions under Proposition HH as a “starting point for discussion with local governments,” Kirkmeyer said. The hope would be to lower the rates further. She said any reimbursements to local governments and schools— Kirkmeyer and state Rep. Rose Pugliese, R-Colorado Springs, said the repayments were only a maybe — would come out of the general fund, not TABOR surplus. [Pols emphasis]

This proposal would basically just move money around from one bank account to another, but once again, the main purpose is ALREADY INCLUDED IN PROPOSITION HH.

[mantra-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”60%”]“We don’t have to ask people to decrease their taxes.”

— State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer repeating one of her favorite nonsensical lines on Wednesday[/mantra-pullquote]

State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer was pressed on where reimbursement money for schools would come from. Try to read what the “Unaffiliated” wrote about her response without laughing out loud:

She said she wanted to mirror the repayments of Senate Bill 238, a 2022 property tax relief measure passed by the legislature.

But much of the reimbursement money in Senate Bill 238 came out of the TABOR surplus, not the general fund, and so going that route would have the same effect on TABOR refunds as Proposition HH. (Kirkmeyer was unaware during the news conference that Senate Bill 238 reimbursements came out of the TABOR surplus but followed up with The Sun later on to acknowledge that they did.) [Pols emphasis]

Really great work, everyone.

Republicans also proposed reducing the property tax assessment rate to 6.7%…apparently not aware that PROPOSITION HH ALREADY DOES THIS. Their final idea is to “reduce Colorado’s income tax rate to 4% from 4.4%, resulting in a $1.2 billion revenue hit to the legislature’s general fund.”

We’ll reduce your income tax rate and pay for the loss in revenue with General Fund money that we don’t have! Hooray!

Finally, as the “Unaffiliated” explains, Republicans would spend TABOR surpluses into oblivion with these poorly-planned proposals:

Additionally, if all three bills were to pass, the legislature would be at high risk of using all the projected TABOR surplus in the next three fiscal years, which could threaten funding for existing programs and services. [Pols emphasis] That’s especially true when you factor in Proposition 123, approved by voters in 2022, which sets aside up to $290 million in annual TABOR surplus for housing.

Proposition HH was placed on the 2023 ballot during this year’s legislative session. Republicans have had months to come up with their own ideas to clarify their opposition, and the best they could do is to offer up proposals that already exist.

Did anybody actually, you know, read Proposition HH?

As Colorado Newsline reports, Democratic State Rep. Chris deGruy Kennedy — who sponsored the legislation that put Prop. HH on the ballot — was equally confused by the Republican “ideas”:

“This was a very political event. This was not about their alternative legislation. The timing of this is obvious — they are trying to create a narrative so people can vote no on Prop HH thinking there is something better out there. I’m not sure there is.” [Pols emphasis]

Sure there is! Just listen to legislative Republicans: The best alternative to Prop. HH is, um, Prop. HH!


8 thoughts on “Republican Legislators Prove (Again) to Be Completely Clueless

  1. Remove your lid when you are indoors. It's not too much to ask that you have the decorum of a man. Your hat doesn't make you anything wearing it indoors isn't something a cowboy ought do.

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