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Phantom support for Sen. Heath’s Colorado tax hike

Posted by Kelly Maher on May 20th, 2011
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Colorado state Sen. Rollie Heath’s $3 billion tax-hike proposal appeared to be without significant business or non-profit backing at this week’s press conference - as observed by Tim Hoover of The Denver Post.

HOOVER: “Where’s the business and the non-profit community? I mean no one’s standing here with you today. Is the Denver Chamber on board with this? Who do you have? What commitments do you have?”

HEATH: “Well, you heard the commitments of the people [Democratic legislators] that are standing here. We have a lot more…The Denver Chamber is going to stand on the sidelines and not oppose. I don’t know anyone other than, obviously maybe members of the [Republican] party who are going to oppose this, Tim. We’re not going to have any business people standing up and saying, ‘This isn’t the thing they should do.’ Everybody, if there’s an issue on this, it’s a question of timing…

“…I think we’ll have clear sailings, with little or no opposition.”

In March, I spoke about Heath’s proposal (at the time) with Tamra Ward, senior V.P. of public affairs and communications for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, who told me then

“We don’t think now is an appropriate time to be making tax policy changes,” she said.

I contacted Ward again today to get an update…

“Our position remains the same – we don’t think the climate is right to raise, or lower, taxes in 2011,” she said. “We shared that with Sen. Heath and with the folks at RTD, as it related to FasTracks. That said, we would not consider a formal position on the measure until it was certified for the ballot.”

The Chamber is right that there’s no reason to take a formal position, or to dedicate resources on this tax measure (either for or against) UNTIL the initiative is certified for the ballot. But to say at this point that Denver Chamber is “on the sidelines,” implying that it would not oppose the tax hike, amounts to a phantom endorsement.

  • Post by Kelly Maher on May 20th, 2011

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