DENVER (KDVR) — Come Friday, lawmakers will be back at work under the dome at the Colorado Capitol for a special session.
Before that happens, House leaders on both sides of the aisle spoke with FOX31 about how they expect their limited time at the Capitol to play out.
When it comes to policies, the two parties have different ideas they would like to prosper. Both sides said they need to provide some form of property tax relief and they want to save Coloradans some money.
“This is a moment to put people over politics. We have found common ground with Republicans on property tax relief before where we used general funds and TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) surplus to try and craft a very responsible property tax relief package,” said House Speaker Julie McCluskie.
Looking at the items listed in the governor’s executive order for this special session, that may be the case again. McCluskie said Democrats and Republicans have not only been talking about property tax solutions, but they have also gone over other ideas that could save folks money.
“We’ve talked about earned income tax credit. Something that was included in the governor’s call that allows us to provide tax credits (earned income tax credit) for lower-income, hardworking folks in this state who need that extra support right now just given the high cost of living. You know, we found bipartisan support when we worked on EITC this last session,” McCluskie said.
Adjustments to earned income tax credits and flat TABOR refunds for all Coloradans are both listed as priorities for the special session in the governor’s executive order. Republicans agree about saving Coloradans money, but they have a different idea of how they would like to see that happen.
“It does not seem like there is a lot of appetite on the other side for an income tax reduction, but we truly believe that is the solution we should be discussing,” said House Assistant Minority Leader Rose Pugliese. “Another part that is like a hard line in the sand for us is that we will not support any measure or any bill that includes taking people’s TABOR refunds in order to pay.”
Republicans put forward a plan they say will provide $1.4 billion in property tax relief with a 0.4% income reduction for Coloradans without using TABOR surplus money.
With such a small minority at the Capitol, they know the plan with Democratic support is more likely to pass, but they have found common ground on the concept of constructing a group that would look at long-term property tax solutions for local governments going forward.
“I told Democrat leadership that when they were planning the special session, I don’t feel like it’s enough time to get good consensus with the stakeholders. But the reality is this will be a one-year plan, it’s a short-term fix. It sounds like while we don’t agree with the makeup of the task force, we both agree that a task force is necessary to find a long-term and sustainable solution, and I think that’s a positive regardless,” Pugliese said.
Pugliese said Republicans want the task force to be driven by local governments and Democrats want it to be driven by lawmakers. They all agree that they would like this session to be done by Thanksgiving Day.