Not surprising, the latest study from the Denver University Center for Colorado’s Economic Future states a tax increases equal to $3.5 billion in new revenue is necessary by 2025, or in the next 14 years, to keep government services at current levels. But, as the recent Washington D.C. debt ceiling confrontation demonstrated, raising taxes without a serious discussion of the size of government, and in the case of Colorado, what the state should and should not fund, is likely to lead only to more partisan conflict and gridlock.
And to further complicate the discussion, a court ruling on equitable K-12 school funding is eminent (Lobato case), and combines with a growing sense the dominant government public school system is unaffordable and inefficient with mixed outcomes.
The national and economic slowdown and financial deleveraging means all aspects of the economy, including government and its revenue and expenditure, must be downsized in light of the “new normal.”
Although Colorado’s liberal think tanks warn of crises without new revenue, other leaders and many voters believe more government revenue is unjustified until there is across-the-board rethinking of the size and mission of government.
This debate may offer some support for the Bright Future education tax increase on the November ballot, but given the economy and voters’ ambivalent mood, it’s already engendered partisan ranker and the Hickenlooper administration’s and the business community’s low-profile.
Denver Post: Study says Colorado budget outlook worse than thought and cutting alone won’t fix it
The Bell Policy Center: It’s time to talk about raising taxes
Washington Times: A lonely Colo. legislator crusades to raise taxes