January 22 2010, 11:54 AM
As the Legislature prepares to argue over how to cut another $48 million from this year's budget and at least $1.3 billion in the next fiscal year starting in July, Governor Bill Ritter is forging ahead with plans to tax items such as candy and soda, reports 7News. The lame-duck Democrat had initially sought to eliminate or suspend 13 tax credits and exemptions. Now, he proposes phasing out seven tax exemptions in March to help balance the budget, writes The Denver Post. "These adjustments, many of which are temporary suspensions, are one part of the governor's fair and balanced approach to keeping the entire budget balanced," says Ritter spokesman George Merritt. House Minority Leader Mike May, a Parker Republican, chides the Dems for not making deeper cuts earlier. Now, "they just want to tax faster," he says. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper would appear to agree---at least in principle. Hick, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, recently told 9News that increasing taxes during a recession is "counter-intuitive." "You know, when your sales go down in business, you don't raise your prices," he points out. "When revenues go down in government, we can't raise our prices. We can't raise taxes."