Democrats in the Colorado legislature and in the governor's office say they aren't planning to convene a special session to take up the issues contained in a measure they've put on the November ballot concerning the use of excess tax revenue.
Despite earlier talk of doing so, Gov. Jared Polis, who would be the one to make the decision on whether to summon lawmakers back into session in Denver, has no plans to do that, his spokesperson said Wednesday.
House Democratic leadership also confirmed it does not intend to reconvene on the ballot measure, Proposition CC.
And State Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo told the Colorado Sun that there was "no appetite" to deal with the measure in a special session. Garcia could not be reached by Colorado Politics and did not immediately return a phone call.
Under the the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, in prosperous years, taxpayers get a small refund if tax revenue exceeds a spending formula put into the state constitution by voters in 1992.
Proposition CC would authorize the state to keep future TABOR refunds to support education and transportation beginning in the 2020-21 budget year.
Some advocates of a special session wanted to amend Proposition CC to make excess tax revenue available sooner, given rosier-than-expected revenue forecasts.
Time is running out for Polis to change his mind about the session. The ballot for the Nov. 5 election must be finalized 60 days in advance, which is Sept. 4.
The last special session, which lasted two days in 2017, ended in a partisan standoff, resulting in nothing reaching Gov. John Hickenlooper's desk to restore marijuana tax revenue to cultural and social services programs.
The estimated cost for a special session was $25,400 a day to cover 100 lawmakers and staff.
Polis all but ruled out a special session for any purpose when the last legislative session ended in May.
Proposition CC opponents -- led by nearly all the legislative Republicans -- have said for weeks that there could be a special session to head off a vote in November. They predict CC is headed for defeat.
The No on CC Coalition sent out a press release Wednesday to announce it "celebrates" the demise of the never-scheduled session, calling it the "end of the political whiplash."
The coalition contends Colorado taxpayers stand to lose $575 million in refunds this year alone.
“Colorado Democrats’ effort to convene a special session was an incredibly short-sighted maneuver to circumvent House Bills 1257 and 1258, bills which they themselves celebrated and passed earlier this year,” Amy Oliver Cooke, executive vice president of the Independence Institute and a member of No on CC.
She called CC "attempted robbery-in-plain-view."
“Given the popularity of our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and the continued lack of support for Proposition CC, it makes sense that Colorado Democrats would have tried to strike a grand bargain to get what they ultimately wanted – our money,” Cooke said. “At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Colorado lawmakers have proven themselves incapable of prioritizing a $32.5 billion budget.
"This dysfunction initially spawned Proposition CC, until Democrats realized they were leaving money on the table. Neither plan has proven popular with Coloradans, so it appears we are back to debating Proposition CC. We welcome that battle on behalf of Colorado taxpayers, and look forward to its failure in November.”
The Colorado Republican Party put out a statement Wednesday, as well, citing Referendum C, which promised voters that TABOR money would fund transportation.
"In 2005, Colorado voters were told how excess revenues would be spent, but the state legislature broke that promise and did not properly fund roads and bridges," stated Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert of Parker. "Don't fall for it again, vote no on Prop CC."
Colorado GOP Chairman Ken Buck, the congressman from Windsor, called TABOR "a long-term commitment."
"And we vigorously oppose any effort to strip taxpayers of their refunds," he said in the statement.