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November 20, 2023 12:41 pm MST

Republicans Again Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

  • by: Colorado Pols

The Denver Nuggets are the defending NBA Champions. The Colorado Avalanche are a Stanley Cup contender in 2024. The Denver Broncos may have finally turned things around and are currently riding a 4-game winning streak. The moribund Colorado Rockies, sadly, are still terrible, but they can nevertheless manage to eke out a win every now and then.

Colorado Republicans? They can’t take a ‘W’ even if it is dropped in their lap.

For more than a month, Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen had been demanding a special legislative session on property taxes, nevermind that legislative Republicans had clearly demonstrated that they had NO IDEA what they would propose instead. When Proposition HH was roundly rejected by Colorado voters earlier this month, Republicans had an opening to say “I told you so” and take a rare victory lap. Republicans got their special session wish after Proposition HH failed at the ballot box; two days later, Gov. Jared Polis convened what was supposed to be a three-day session that began on Friday, Nov. 17. The session won’t actually conclude until late Monday or even Tuesday, because Republicans spent most of their time trying to gum up the works for no clear reason and then ranting about unrelated nonsense at every turn.

How unrelated? Just 83 minutes into the first day of the special legislative session, Republican Rep. Ken DeGraaf strode to the podium on the House Floor and launched into one of his now-infamous and incoherent rants about Climate Change and carbon emissions (DeGraaf is adamant that carbon dioxide is good for the planet and that the real cause of Climate Change is water vapor, or something). Eventually Rep. Judy Amabile (D-Boulder) — who was chairing the discussion — had to shut him down:

Rep. Ken DeGraaf

DEGRAAF: What’s our affordability crisis? Well, my colleague talked about it. There’s a big wet blanket that’s thrown on this economy by a climate psy-carbon [sic] superstition. You wanna know how much that has to do with our climate? Three parts in one million. Maybe. I’ve sent that to the Governor. I’ve sent my analysis to the Governor and to all the scientists that are involved — the carbon experts, the energy experts…

AMABILE: Rep. DeGraaf?

DEGRAAF: Yes, ma’am?

AMABILE: Let’s not debate climate here tonight. That’s really off the topic.

DEGRAAF: Well, ma’am, there’s no real debate, but there is the issue…

AMABILE: Let’s not ‘discuss’ it, then. How’s that?

DEGRAAF: There is the issue that this is causing absolute poverty…So if we’re going to talk about job insecurity, housing insecurity, food insecurity, then we are talking about energy.

AMABILE: You know, Rep. DeGraaf, I was hoping we could talk about the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Once DeGraaf was done ranting about Climate Change and Republican Rep. Don Wilson had voiced his silly concerns that people would use rental assistance money to buy cocaine, the rest of the GOP caucus made it clear – again – that they weren’t at the State Capitol to do anything serious.

Republicans voted against “clean” property tax cuts and against tax relief measures for working families. The only time Republicans spoke up on a topic germane to the actual reason for the special session was so they could demand more tax cuts for rich people and propose an income rate cut that would have…wait for it…ended up reducing TABOR refunds. Seriously: Republicans proposed amendments that would have used TABOR refunds for property tax relief, even though this had been their primary complaint about Prop. HH.

In the end, every Republican lawmaker in Colorado voted AGAINST the property tax relief measure (SB23B-001) that came out of the special session that they themselves had demanded.

Every. Single. One.

Republicans could have worked with Democrats in passing property tax relief legislation and then worked to take credit for listening to voters who rejected Prop. HH. That was the obvious play. To use another sports analogy, Republicans took over 10 yards from the end zone and promptly punted the ball into the top row of the stadium.

Via The Colorado Sun (11/18/23)

And then things got worse for Republicans. On Monday, the House GOP publicly asserted that all Republicans opposed SB23B-001 because it “uses your TABOR funds” for property tax relief. Except…it doesn’t. Which they would know if they listened to the full reading of the bill (which they demanded).

Legislative Republicans who are stuck in a small minority regularly whine that Democrats steamroll over them at every turn. But what is the incentive for Democrats to work with the GOP when they either aren’t paying attention or decide to flat-out lie about legislation that anyone could read on their own?

Colorado Democrats, meanwhile, once again showed Republicans how to turn a loss into a win with four important policies:

  1. Reduced the rate of increase in property taxes without docking TABOR refunds;
  2. Flattened TABOR refunds so that all Coloradans receive the same amount of money;
  3. Implemented tax credits for working families (EITC);
  4. Authorized $30 million in rental assistance.

Democrats listened to Colorado voters who rejected Proposition HH and used the special legislative session to provide relief for homeowners and renters. For good measure, Democrats also passed a new tax credit for working families and flattened TABOR refunds so that all Coloradans benefit equally instead of returning the bulk of TABOR refunds to the wealthiest people in the state. And Democratic lawmakers did all of this without tapping into the state’s “rainy day fund,” which is what Republicans proposed.

Republicans in the state legislature showed again that they are even more inept and uninterested in governing as their colleagues in Congress. These are not serious people.


9 thoughts on “Republicans Again Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

  1. I'd like to know why these articles can't seem to mention that the only reason that those who earn more in the state typically receive larger refunds is because they pay more in taxes.

    1. I am not sure that is "typical". It certainly needs to be explained, if you don't mind. I believe, at least, there can be a line drawn between those who can afford an accountant and those who can't.

      In my experience, those who make the most money pay the least in taxes. 


  2. Once again, I may not always agree with everything in the Democratic mindset, but for YEARS I've been disgusted with EVERYTHING Republicans have done. WTF happened to that party? When did all the clowns take over? A total joke of a group of human beings!

    1. The dumbing down of the GOP has been running in synch with the less and less veiled appeals to racism and xenophobia.

      I remember back 43 years ago being in disbelief that the people in this country elected a moron like Ronald Reagan as president. And did so twice. By landslide margins.

      Little did I know that all things are relative, and that eight years later we would be introduced to Dan Quayle. Quayle made Reagan look like he had average intelligence.

      So, Quayle was the new low-water mark for what was acceptable or electable until 12 years later when "the Dumber One" of the Bush brothers won the presidency in a lawsuit. (I don't know if it is true but supposedly the nickname "the Dumber One" was coined by someone who would know; that is, Barbara Bush.)

      And for the next eight years, the man who led us on a search for WMDs in Iraq became the new low-water mark in American politics.

      That was, until John McCain, in a moment of frustration at the right wing's vetoes of his first and second choices for VEEP (Tom Ridge and Joe Liberman), decided that Caribou Barbie was the most qualified person to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. Who knew that the cellar had a subcellar.

      And that was the bottom until 2016 when You-Know-Who came down the escalator and broke new ground in the never-ending quest to find out how low things can go.


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