The Ball is in the Democrats’ Court

The release of a poll by the Denver Chamber of Commerce confirms what an earlier poll commissioned by the Independence Institute and Colorado Club for Growth revealed: the citizens of this state do not support Speaker Andrew Romanoff’s plan to resolve its budget problems. Any proposed plan that is passed through the legislature must be approved by Colorado voters, and according to the Chamber’s poll only 37 percent like Romanoff’s solution.

Governor Owens’ plan, which isn’t much better insofar as it wants to modify the TABOR limits, receives 55 percent of support in the same poll.

House Minority Leader Joe Stengel (R – Littleton) reacted quickly to the news, saying there was no chance the Republican caucus would cooperate with Romanoff’s proposal:

“Since Democrats control both chambers, they still have the ability to ram Speaker Romanoff’s proposal through the legislature, but that would be a mistake. Without question, this poll indicates that the Romanoff proposal would be soundly defeated by the voters this November. Maybe now Speaker Romanoff will listen to what we’ve been telling him and other Democrat leaders since the session began in January.

“The voters get it. They are not about to support the Romanoff plan, which calls for taxpayers to give up hundreds of millions of dollars of future TABOR refunds to pay for the largest expansion of state government in Colorado history.”

The Democrats are learning the perils of being in the majority. They are certainly not immune from the allure of power – far from it. They’ve already killed one Republican-sponsored good-faith attempt at a compromise solution and are ignoring another. (Not to mention the plethora of silly and harmful legislation the Democrats have been pushing through their committees – thankfully, at least Senator Sue Windels has seen the folly of her anti-charter school bill and gutted it.)

So the ball is in the Democrats’ court. The voters aren’t going to approve their star pupil’s well-advertised panacea for all Colorado’s financial ills. Where do they go from here?

  • Do they trust their liberal instincts and push through Romanoff’s major government expansion proposal, hoping a slick marketing campaign might convince the voters in November that the plan is something other than what it is?
  • Or do they listen to the wisdom of their Republican colleagues and come back to the table for a good-faith bargaining compromise?
  • Their future status as the majority party in Colorado’s statehouse may depend on it.

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