Transportation sales tax hike could be headed to the Colorado ballot |

Transportation sales tax hike could be headed to the Colorado ballot

A coalition of business leaders across the state took a major step this week toward asking Colorado voters to raise sales taxes for transportation, but even some who have long supported a tax hike for roads are now questioning whether the effort can succeed.

That uncertainty cast a shadow over Thursday’s long-awaited rollout of four potential ballot measures by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, which is seeking to generate as much as $5 billion for transportation projects.

The proposals would raise the 2.9 percent state sales tax rate by somewhere from a half-cent to a full penny per dollar. But election-year politics and new financial realities have dramatically changed the dynamic from a year ago, when a bipartisan group of lawmakers, business leaders and the governor tried to usher a similar voter-referred tax measure through the state legislature.

Today, Gov. John Hickenlooper is noncommittal. The business coalition that backed last year’s legislation is showing signs of fraying. Republican lawmakers who last year supported a tax hike no longer think one is needed. And even some Democrats who support higher taxes are now questioning whether the options presented by the chamber can be sold to voters.

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