One of the big issues that the 2015 State Legislature will tackle is the first expected TABOR refund in several years. With the economy improving, Colorado expects to be in the position to refund over $137 million to taxpayers.
Like any other taxpayer, I’d love to have $50 or so extra dollars to spend this year on anything I wish.
Some Democratic lawmakers have been hopeful to arrive at a way to ask voters to keep the money, per the tenets of TABOR, and spend the money on needy projects around the state.
I have heard that several Republican lawmakers consider attempting to ask voters to keep the TABOR funds as a non-starter.
While I understand the basic ties to GOP standards about keeping taxes low and supporting TABOR, if it is true, I think that stance is short sighted.
However, I also feel that a grand request of the voters to keep the money to spend on myriad projects, or worse yet, to simply allow lawmakers to arrive at a plan to spend the funds later, is also not a good idea.
What I think would be a good idea would be for lawmakers to come up with a very simple request for a very simple but needed project to spend the proposed funds.
Simplicity is the key to success if lawmakers are willing to go there.
Colorado voters have proved in the past that they are willing to spend money on a good idea. The economy is improving, so it is also the right time to ask.
While I am not a transportation expert, I have to believe that $137 million dollars can pay for many different basic road or highway projects that can improve many drivers’ experiences.
I know I usually spend far more than $50 on fixing my car may after hitting potholes throughout a Colorado winter and no one thinks we drive on great roads, but finding a way to improve those roads has been elusive.
The nice thing about a roads project is that everyone uses them, Democrat and Republican alike. All political flavors come together on Colorado highways.
Is there a basic road project out there that lawmakers can ask to make a reality for $137 million dollars? Can lawmakers resist the temptation to make the request complicated or tie it to a partisan wish list?
Perhaps the answer to both questions is no.
But if our elected leaders can keep it simple, they may find that Colorado voters will embrace the idea of putting their $50 refund toward saving $500 on car repairs.
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About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.