Several measures to suspend tax breaks to help balance Colorado’s budget have passed the state Senate despite claims by Republicans that higher taxes could spark layoffs. In all, the Senate passed nine bills that would increase taxes on everything from soda and candy to online sales, and from energy used in manufacturing to pesticides (via The Associated Press).
State Senator Chris Romer, a Denver Denver who backed the bills, says legislators took a “calculated risk” in passing them, admitting slower job growth or some layoffs are possible. But if deeper budget cuts would have been made, hundreds of teachers would definitely lose their jobs, he claims.
The voting took nearly seven hours yesterday, as Republicans challenged the bills. In the end, no Republicans voted for any of the bills in the package, and a handful of Democrats joined them on some, the Denver Business Journal points out.
“You are all casting votes to destroy jobs in the state of Colorado,” said Senator Ted Harvey, a Highlands Ranch Republican.
State Senator Morgan Carroll, an Aurora Democrat who voted for the bills, sees it differently: “The majority of the rank-and-file constituents in my district said they had two ways they wanted us to deal with the budget: Find more efficiencies in government—which we’ve done—and close corporate tax loopholes.”
Eight of the nine bills will see more haggling, but the ninth, House Bill 1196, heads straight to the governor. As part of its annual Legislative Day at the Capitol, Action 22, a Southern Colorado advocacy group of citizens, businesses, and local governments, quizzed Ritter on the taxes he urged.
In the absence of an agricultural tax-break repeal, Ritter says, we’d “have to take another $2.2 million from K through 12” education (via The Pueblo Chieftain). “Nobody’s forecasting a robust growth out of this recession. It’s going to be a very slow growth.”