Technical problems are following me. I’ve not been able been able to read clips statewide for most of the past couple of days, but from what I have been able to read and have heard from some suggests we might be coming into crunch time. Who will blink and how hard?
With GOP conservatives trying hard to take the heat off themselves, some have said they’d support raising the sales tax ½-cent. But that is far from halfway towards the Senate plan. And after a couple weeks of unrelenting pressure from citizens, professional groups and the press to pass a sustainable budget, I don’t see why Senate GOPers and Dems need to settle for that.
The ½-cent increase is only a band-aid. We’ll be back next year trying to figure out how to raise revenues again. Without my files with me in too-warm-for-great-skiing Colorado, I’m relying on memory: A half-cent sales tax brings in about $700 million. The Senate had already compromised by cutting about $1.6 billion in new transportation revenues and now have a budget with a tax increase of $2.2 billion.
If conservatives stick to the ½-cent increase as the only statewide tax they’d endorse, maybe a compromise is to give counties the same taxing authority as cities and towns have and let them have either a ½-cent sales-tax or income tax surcharge authority. The key would be to allow the localities to keep ALL the tax revenue raised by the optional tax.
Such a compromise allows conservative delegates a chance to pass the buck while they claim credit for passing a budget. And passing the buck seems to be the best the GOP can offer is terms of governance.
But that compromise may run into the fear some have of increasing disparity in local services, especially in schools where a court challenge could prove problematic. Folks in less prosperous areas where a local add-on tax isn’t affordable or brings in too little won’t like being left farther behind. But localities willing to raise their own taxes won’t want to see too much distributed elsewhere.
So it seems there are a lot of folks who still need to keep screaming. The ½-cent is too little too late.
I’m screaming as loud as I can from the mountains. I hope to hear more than my own echo.
And I hope with my return, the techno gremlins are gone.