Vulnerable Colo. House Democrats Push Through “Dirty Dozen” Tax Hikes

Update, 2/2: Americans for Tax Reform links back here. They have taken a real interest in “educating all those voting in the districts represented by the aforementioned lawmakers as to how they voted on this tax package during the 2010 campaign season.” ATR’s help is much appreciated.

Saturday I highlighted the Democratic House seats in the Colorado state legislature most vulnerable in the upcoming election. Today the House voted (with a 37-27-1 Democratic majority) to approve eight of the “dirty dozen” tax hike bills on: Direct mail (1189); Candy and soft drinks (1191); Software downloads (1192); Online sales (1193); “Non-essential” food containers (1194); Insecticides, pesticides and bull semen (1195); Alternative fuel vehicles (1196); Corporate net operating losses (1199).

When push comes to shove, I can give a pass on HB 1196. As for the other seven, it’s interesting to see which Democrats exhibited momentary symptoms of common sense and voted No … and which Democrats did not. Among those who voted Yes on every one of the tax increases:

  • Sara Gagliardi (27)
  • Dianne Primavera (33)
  • Debbie Benefield (29)
  • Max Tyler (23)
  • Jeanne Labuda (1)
  • Judy Solano (31)

In the case of the first two, you have to wonder if Democratic leadership has already signed off these two seats as Republican pick-ups. As for the last four (and possibly others), they’ve handed a giant issue to their opponents or potential opponents.

Additionally, other vulnerable incumbent Democrats voted for nearly all of the tax increases. Dennis Apuan (17) voted for everything but the soda and candy tax (HB 1191). The only no vote from Christine Scanlan (59) and John Kefalas (52) was against the online sales tax (HB 1193). Jim Riesberg (50) and Randy Fischer (53) cast a vote for every tax hike except the one on agricultural products (HB 1195).

The Democrat running for re-election in the most Republican district, Joe Rice (38), voted against two of the “dirty dozen”: software downloads (HB 1192) and online sales (HB 1193). Unaffiliated representative Kathleen Curry (61) also voted against those two bills, as well as the food containers (HB 1194) and agricultural products (HB 1195) taxes.

As interesting proof that at least the Democrats are good at whipping the caucus into shape, Rep. Wes McKinley (D-Walsh) voted against nearly all of the tax increases except for HB 1193. He was the deciding vote in favor of increasing taxes on online sales.

So while many vulnerable Colorado Democrats have put themselves in bad shape politically by supporting most or all of the “dirty dozen” tax hikes, even the one or two who voted on the right side more often than not ended up enabling the entire package to pass.

Now on to the state senate, where the drama gets played out again. Will any Democrats (21-14 majority) in the upper chamber have the courage to cast the deciding vote against even one of these destructive policies? Don’t bet on it.


  1. Thomas Randle says

    Sad day. They should take a look over here in California, and learn their lesson the easy way.

    By the way, what are “Non essential” food containers anyway?


Leave a Reply