We have heard Democrats in the state legislature talk out loud about exploiting a partisan Colorado Supreme Court overreach to violate the state constitution and repeal tax credits without a vote of the people. Via an emergency update from the Republican Study Committee, the Democrats’ first real attempt to test their theory comes up for a hearing tomorrow:
This Tuesday, HB-1342 (PDF) will be voted on in the House Finance Committee. It will be the first of perhaps many bills that for the first time will remove sales tax waivers without a vote of the people – a direct violation of both the letter and spirit of TABOR. Some existing tax waivers cover the essentials of life that people rely on like food, gasoline, and other credits that have been on the books for as long as 80 years. If HB-1342 passes, they could use it as a template to remove up to $1.5 billion per year in all sorts of tax waivers and credits – clearly net tax increases -without going to a vote of the people. The Democrats’ main arguments against TABOR have been that the General Assembly should not be constrained in its taxing and spending, and if the voters don’t like spending levels they should hold their representatives accountable.
The House Finance Committee currently has 6 Democrats and 5 Republicans. Only one swing vote would be necessary to kill this bill. If Rep. Dennis Apuan, Democrat from Colorado Springs, would vote to kill HB-1342, we might have the momentum to stop other such bills.
The committee vote on HB-1342 (PDF) will be on Tuesday morning. Please phone of email Rep. Apuan at 303-866-3069 as soon as possible at 303-866-3069, and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask him to vote to kill HB-1342 by both voting against it, and then voting to postpone it indefinitely. If you are from Colorado Springs, HD-17, or El Paso County, please mention that too. [PDF links added]
Not surprisingly, following on the heels of broken promises at the federal level, tobacco products would be the first target of the Democrats’ illicit tax revenue raid.
You can listen in to the HB 1342 hearing Tuesday morning upon adjournment in Room LSB-A.