During his Thursday news conference, Gov. Jared Polis threatened a veto of House Bill 1420, the Tax Fairness Act that went through a four-hour filibuster shortly before Polis spoke.

The bill passed on a 39-to-26 vote, with two Democrats voting against the measure along with the chamber's 24 Republicans.

"I don't see a route for the tax bill to become law," Polis told reporters Thursday. "There have not been any negotiations in the last few days," although he said his door is open to talking to Democrats about a way to make the tax repeal bill a "pro-business package," one that is good for jobs and good for business.

But "at this point, I'm not optimistic."

Polis dodged a question on what he would want in the bill to get a "yes." However, he has advocated in his two State of the State addresses for an income tax rate cut. In his address last January, Polis said "I am enthusiastic about working to deliver permanent income tax relief, and we should continue down the path of eliminating tax breaks for special interests so that we can lower rates for everyone without reducing state revenue."

The news conference also featured an update on the state's handling of COVID-19, and Polis shared a story of a state worker who contracted the virus in March.

Mike Clark is a civil engineer with the Colorado Department of Transportation. He came down with the virus in mid-March, and for the first nine days stayed in bed. He then went to an urgent care facility, but woke up two weeks later on a ventilator at St. Anthony's Hospital. Having the ventilator removed, Clark told the governor, was like "having your toenails pulled through your throat."

He was barely able to walk, and only recently started eating solid foods and walk with the assistance of a cane. "If there's anything that could prompt you to wear a mask at work," Clark said, it should be the thought of laying in a hospital bed on top of a bedpan. "If the risk of death doesn't scare you," the risk of a very painful hospital experience should.

As of midday Thursday, 20,631 have contracted the virus in Colorado, 1,328 have died from it and 1,557 have died with it. 

The good news is that the number of cases have trended downward in eight of the last 14 days, and hospitalizations are down in 11 of the last 14 days. 

But increased cases and hospitalizations in Utah and Arizona are still a concern, he said. And he remains wary about a spike in cases from the recent Black Lives Matter protests, which he said he expects to see any day now. There could be hundreds of cases tied to those protests, he said.

Colorado has so far avoided a resurgence because it has been a leader in reopening, but in a way that heeded the advice of scientists, he said. 

Polis pointed to a new study that showed that while social distancing doesn't stop a resurgence, wearing a mask lessens the chances dramatically. "It's a powerful and easy decision for you to make," he said. Wearing a mask is "the ticket to to a more prosperous future," he added.

He also announced a new website — CanDoColorado — designed to help businesses with telecommuting and spotlight those who have found innovative ways to allow their employees to telecommute.

Polis also responded to questions on the actions to remove statutes of Confederacy leaders or renaming military bases named after Confederate generals. "I'm focused on COVID-19," Polis said, but is aware of those discussions.

"We want to learn from history, but we don't want to wash out history or pretend like it didn't happen," the governor said. It can be painful to watch portrayals of what's happened in the country, he explained, but the answer is "not to sweep it under the rug." It needs to be addressed "head on."

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