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Can Prop. 103 proponents go for the Big Fix?

Posted by Kelly Maher on November 7th, 2011
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Proposition 103 was badly beaten last week, failing worse than many had expected and sending a message (along with other measures that went down) that Coloradans do not want higher taxes. The Wall Street Journal, among others, took notice.

So what’s coming from the tax-and-spend crowd?

State Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, pitched Prop. 103 as a temporary fix, a five-year tax increase proposal that would be a stopgap until the so-called Big Fix, a systemic change in the way Colorado collects taxes and funds schools, which would entail changes to the state constitution.

So what’s the strategy of Big Fix proponents now that Prop. 103 is in ruins?

Tim Hoover at The Denver Post interviewed one of our favorite tax reformers (to write about), Carol Hedges of the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute. She said that the problem was Prop. 103 wasn’t big enough.

“I think the message is that you have to keep trying,” said Hedges, who added, “I hope all the people who didn’t support 103 because they wanted the Big Fix are committed to holding people accountable to make sure that Big Fix comes through, because our state is at risk if we don’t.”

Alan Franklin of ProgressNow wrote to his supporters via e-mail…

“So we lost an election yesterday. The next one is right around the corner. I’ve been doing this long enough to know it sometimes takes several tries to succeed. With all this talk about the need for the ‘big solution,’ now is the time for our leaders to step up and show it to us so we can get to work on passing it next year.”

So it seems like Hedges and Franklin are all gung-ho for the Big Fix as early as 2012.

But Heath, as Hoover reported, is not up for that next year.

“I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell,” he said. “In a presidential year? To do what we need to do to educate folks? I don’t recommend doing anything in 2012.”

At a Prop. 103 debate on Oct. 20, sponsored by the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce [see video above], Heath said that “this is a conversation we must have” and that, “To sit here - with the average person out there, fat, dumb and happy - thinking we’re O.K., when we know we’re not…”

To move from “this is a conversation we must have” to “snowball’s chance in hell” shows that the hammering Prop. 103 received at the polls might keep Heath from being one of the people sitting at the table with the Hedges/Franklin contingent should they pursue a Big Fix next year.

[Post updated 11/11/11]

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  • Post by Kelly Maher on November 7th, 2011

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