Stage Set for State Capitol Showdown on (Most of) Dirty Dozen Tax Hikes

Update: I’m not a big fan of the tax credits and exemptions per se. Some represent better policy than others. I would love to see a legislator propose an amendment that one or more of the tax credit revocations be offset by a general reduction to make it revenue-neutral. But since the Democrats’ motivation with these “dirty dozen” bills is about scratching together more funds to help backfill the state budget, and not about creating a more equitable tax system with a minimal shared burden by businesses and consumers, I don’t see the idea going anywhere.

And that doesn’t even bring us to the whole legal question of whether some or all of these bills violate TABOR in the state constitution because they raise taxes without a vote of the people.

Most of the dirty dozen tax hikes will be heard today in committee, reports the Denver Post‘s Tim Hoover:

But [Democratic Sen. Moe] Keller said lawmakers already have cut a property-tax break for seniors, higher education, public schools, programs for the developmentally disabled and mentally ill, and Medicaid payments.

“They’ve all done their part,” Keller said. “The business community can take a hit, too.”

That’s my retiring state senator. Except what happens when tax exemptions are revoked: Is it just the “business community” that is hit?

On Monday, the commerce and industry association released the results of a survey that showed 72 percent of companies polled said they would halt or delay business expansions if four specific tax incentives were eliminated. Meanwhile, 55.2 percent of the companies said they would cut workers’ wages, and 50 percent said they would lay off workers if the tax breaks were eliminated.

All of which holds back economic growth, and cuts into future tax revenue. No one says there are easy answers for everyone involved. But aren’t there some other cost-cutting reforms Colorado can try first?

The article’s headline reads “Industries, lobbyists sour on proposals to curb Colo. tax breaks” — but I have a feeling the Democrats running the show at the State Capitol may hear fairly loudly from some regular small business owners and other taxpaying citizens, too.

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