Refund TABOR, Cut Colroado Fees and Fight Inflation

Governor Jared Polis and lawmakers who resumed work last week under Colorado’s gold-domed Capitol Building in Denver were right to prioritize easing the financial pressure on housing and cost of living inflation.

Democrats, who will run the legislative program in 2022 with majority in the House and Senate, deserve credit for shifting gears quickly to meet what voters want. and need. Polis and Senate leaders Leroy Garcia and Daneya Esgar and House leaders Alec Garnett and Stephen Fenberg are showing lust by setting a long stretch of their agenda for adjustment. to suit the actual conditions. Republican leaders including Hugh McKean and Chris Holbert deserve credit for drumming up taxpayer savings long before inflation skyrocketed.

Democrats and Polis just passed a series of previous session fees for car owners and drivers in an effort to improve Colorado’s infrastructure. We’ve supported this effort in several editorials, noting that no one is going to fix our roads and that Colorado lawmakers need to work hard and find a way to keep our roads and bridges going. not ruined.

Well, we were wrong about one thing. The federal government has stepped up dramatically to help states, cities, and counties weather the short-term COVID-19 economic downturn and invest billions of dollars in infrastructure.

And we didn’t foresee, like even the best economists, this particular economic boom where inflation was skyrocketing, even as employers tried to hold back wage growth. despite the severe labor shortage.

The good news is that the unemployment rate is low. The bad news is that even as employers raise wages to attract reluctant workers, the gains are being eaten away by inflation.

So, will the Colorado legislature respond in a way that makes sense to this odd economic Catch 22 for American workers and non-workers?

Pausing the 2 cents/gallon increases on gasoline and diesel fuels will mean small savings for most Colorado drivers.

And Colorado lawmakers shouldn’t be against the temporary income tax relief called for under the Taxpayers Bill of Rights in coming tax years. It’s a small rebate per household (cut from 4.55% to 4.5% or an average of $69 for an individual and $166 for joint filers) but the State books are in good condition so this is the last year to stop evading regulatory refunds. .

Polis has backed that tax cut since economists first expected the refunds to be triggered, but there was early discussion among some House Democrats about whether Try to rotate the money with clever accounting tricks to avoid refunds. Because TABOR requires tax rates to be flat in Colorado, the wealthiest Coloradoans will get the biggest refunds, and that feels wrong at a time when low-wage workers are being hit. hardest hit by inflation. We will support efforts to reform the tax refund system to get more money into the hands of the taxpayers who need it most, as long as it doesn’t go through pet project tax credits sent to operators. corridor action. Some of the money could go toward increasing the earned income tax credit, but that would leave a large segment of middle-class taxpayers also seeing the cost of living outpacing wage growth.

Finally, we’re pleased to have bipartisan support for tackling the burgeoning housing crisis – prices will continue to rise even as the federal government raises interest rates. We strongly feel that money aimed at increasing affordable housing would be best spent on the public sector – housing, Habitat and land authorities – rather than on Private developers have proven themselves unwilling or unable to build a substantial number of housing units for anyone but those at the top of the market. Republicans should continue to campaign for construction and building reform, even though we understand that many of the restrictions come at the local level.

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Huynh Nguyen

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