Colorado News Connection

March 9, 2018Available files: mp3 wav jpg

CO House Shelves Bill to Lower Income Tax

Eric Galatas

DENVER - Colorado residents won't be doubling up on tax cuts this year, after a Colorado House committee failed to advance House Bill 1203 on Thursday.

The measure, following in the Trump administration's footsteps, would have lowered the state income tax rate from just over 4.6 percent to an even 4 percent.

Carol Hedges, executive director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute, thinks the legislative committee made a wise decision to stop digging a budget hole for the state.

"Our communities are already struggling because our public investments aren't supporting schools, transportation, and higher education in ways they should, says Hedges. "And by saying 'no' to [House] Bill 1203, at least we won't have a bigger problem to deal with."

The bill was co-sponsored by brothers, Sen. Tim Neville and Rep. Patrick Neville, both Republicans representing Front Range communities. Proponents of trimming the tax rate point out that Colorado is projecting a budget surplus, and argue that allowing workers to keep a bigger portion of their paychecks would boost the economy.

Hedges says the state can't afford to change the rules just because the economy is on the upswing. She notes the measure would have cut more than a billion dollars from state revenues, at a time when Colorado is behind on some critical public investments.

Hedges adds the economic impact of workers keeping a few extra dollars in their pockets pales in comparison to the benefits of putting money to work in public infrastructure and services.

"When we come together and pay for schools and invest in transportation, those reap real benefits to the overall economy," she says. "And that's the point of having taxes, things that we do together."

She notes legislators are considering at least 13 other bills promising tax credits or deductions, which Hedges warns would also decrease state revenue and make it harder to invest in housing, health care, higher education and other public needs.