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Five-year tax hike in Colo. could set stage for more

Posted by Kelly Maher on May 19th, 2011
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Colorado state Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder. announced Monday (in front of fourth-graders whose parents did not give permission that they be used in a press event) that he was moving forward with his initiative to raise taxes for five years.

Over the course of this process, Heath has looked at three tax increase proposals: one for three years, one for five years, and one in perpetuity. Around the same time that the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute decided to pull their “progressive” tax proposal Heath also pulled his 3-year proposal from the table.

With only the five-year, and non-sunsetting, initiatives remaining, there was some political speculation as to which he would move forward with. Those were laid to rest Monday when Heath announced the 5-year tax increase [purportedly to fund public schools] was what he’d decided to advance. But why five years and not forever?

At a town hall meeting for Sen. Joyce Foster, D-Denver, on Wednesday, Heath [see video above] explained his logic:

“People came to me and said, ‘Rollie, if you make this indefinite, people are going to think we’ve got this fixed permanently. Two years from now, three years from now, they’re going to say, ‘Hey, you know I passed your tax increase, why are you coming back to us now with something else?’ So that’s the logic, whether you like it or not.”

What does this means in non-political speak? My translation: “If we ask for only five years of tax increases, then when we come back for more, we can say that was only a ‘temporary fix.’” Fantastic. It’s always nice to look two or three years ahead and see the looming threat of future tax increases. Apparently the cost of freedom AND lower taxes (arguably the same thing) is eternal vigilance.

[Updated 5/20/11]

  • Post by Kelly Maher on May 19th, 2011

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