Republicans to introduce own tax reform plan for Colorado |

Republicans to introduce own tax reform plan for Colorado

Steven K. Paulson
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Republican lawmakers said Wednesday they will introduce their own proposal to resolve conflicting tax limits and spending requirements in the state constitution.

GOP lawmakers drafted the measure after a similar proposal by House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, a Democrat, ran into trouble.

Romanoff wants to ask voters to relax constitutional restrictions on taxes in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and remove a constitutional requirement to increase spending on public education.

Republicans accused other Democrats of acting in bad faith when they went around Romanoff and passed an amendment that increases funding for public schools in the school finance act.

That move could doom Romanoff’s plan by simply shifting the requirement to increase education spending from the constitution into state law.

Republicans suggested eliminating a provision of the public school constitutional amendment that requires the state to accelerate funding for 10 years and shift the money into transportation and a rainy day fund. The requirement to accelerate payment, which went into effect in 2001, is scheduled to expire in two years.

Republicans said there is no need to change the constitution.

Republicans said there is no need to change the constitution.

“We’re going to propose budget reform without changing the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights,” said Sen. Josh Penry, R-Fruita.

Romanoff said he’s willing to talk to Republicans about their proposal. He also criticized Republicans for not working with him on his proposal.

“They’re doing their best to kill this proposal, then arguing that we don’t have the votes to pass it,” he said.

Romanoff’s plan would create a savings account for public schools, require a two-thirds vote of both houses to access the account and repeal automatic spending increases in Amendment 23, which provides increased funding for public schools.

It also tackles another major issue, eliminating tax surplus refunds under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights while still allowing people to vote on tax increases.

Previous attempts to fix the conflicting fiscal constraints fell apart because Democrats wanted to protect school funding and Republicans wanted limits on the state’s ability to tax and spend.

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