As Denver Post business correspondent Aldo Svaldi reports, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce is moving to resurrect of the major failed priorities from this year’s legislative session–a measure asking voters for more revenue to deal with the growing backlog of badly needed transportation projects all over the state of Colorado:
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce will pursue a ballot initiative next year to boost state transportation funding after the state legislature failed to send voters a measure to raise $3.5 billion for roads and transit this year…
Brough, in an interview after the announcement, said specifics are still being worked on with several other groups, but she hinted that the size and scope of the hard-fought but failed House Bill 1242 offers a starting point.
…The bill, sponsored by Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran and Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham, sought to increase the statewide sales tax to 3.52 percent from 2.9 percent for 20 years to raise $3.5 billion for transportation funding.
But Senate conservatives, opposed in principle to tax increases and state spending priorities, contributed to the bill’s demise late in the session, ending what backers had hailed as a grand bargain between Republicans and Democrats to address a critical need.
The state’s two principal right-wing ideological hard line groups, Americans for Prosperity-Colorado and the Independence Institute–who were chiefly responsible for killing the bipartisan “grand bargain” between Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran and GOP Senate President Kevin Grantham–reacted with predictable anger:
— Michael Fields (@MichaelCLFields) September 6, 2017
— Jon Caldara (@JonCaldara) September 6, 2017
But we’ll be very interested in seeing what happens with this initiative, since it could take a major argument from local conservatives–that Medicaid and other “social spending” must be cut to pay for infrastructure upgrades everyone agrees are needed–off the table. The zero-sum paradigm forced on the state by the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) is an end unto itself for the ideological “starve the beast” right, and they have no interest in upholding the part of the law that allows voters to grow the proverbial pie if they choose.
But when even conservative Republicans like Kevin Grantham agree that something has to be done–and not on the backs of the sick and poor–there is legitimate reason to keep trying.