Coloradans are getting hit with what one reporter described as a “tsunami of higher taxes, new fees and paycheck cuts” thanks to new surcharges and fees taking effect in 2023.
Sure, several politicians ran for office on a platform of saving people money during the 2022 election by temporarily reducing or pausing fee increases they previously supported. But that was so last year.
Now, many of those same politicians and their special-interest partners are actively looking for ways to have you take home less so they can spend more despite the state being flush with cash. Too many at the state legislature are actively looking for ways to increase their budget at the expense of Coloradans. Whether by keeping the hundreds of dollars owed to taxpayers under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) or by unfairly increasing the tax rate on certain individuals, politicians want to skim more and more from Coloradans to cushion their own political endeavors.
Taxpayers have been extremely clear with their elected officials about how they feel about paying more. They demanded the return of their TABOR tax refunds in 2022 and received the $750-per-individual and $1,500-per-couple checks owed to them. The legislature and governor applauded themselves for expediting the TABOR refunds, stating Coloradans desperately needed them to afford basic necessities. So why can Coloradans suddenly afford to go without their TABOR refund checks now?
Remember, taxpayers took it a step further by lowering the state income tax from 4.55% to 4.4% with Proposition 121. While voters were electing Democrat supermajorities, they were also casting their ballots for tax relief with 65% of the vote. Proposition 121 passed in 63 of the 64 counties. While voters made it clear they wanted Democrats in charge, they also sent a clear message of how they view taxation in Colorado. It is critical that elected officials are listening.
To pursue policies that attempt to withhold TABOR tax refunds, increase fees or raise taxes would ignore the struggle Colorado families are facing in 2023. Inflation remains high across the state, driving up the costs of goods and services and forcing people to pay more for less. Gas prices continue to climb due to a Suncor refinery temporarily closing, and the legislature’s gas tax will take effect in just a few months, making families pay even more at the pump.
We agree with Gov. Jared Polis’s November assertion that there is little room in the state budget for new programs and that “if legislators have ideas for new programs, they offset them by eliminating or reducing (existing) programs.” These are the tradeoffs Colorado families make every day. The legislature is no exception. But Coloradans are in no mood to pay more, and the General Assembly must resist the urge to increase their budget at the expense of struggling families. Regardless of the political party voters chose, they spoke loud and clear in support of tax relief.
Jesse Mallory is state director of Americans for Prosperity-Colorado
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