DENVER (KDVR) — It is the first week back for lawmakers at the state Capitol, and a new proposal making the rounds has some folks talking.

Colorado has a problem paying their teachers.

Some lawmakers think surplus dollars that exceed the limit upheld by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, TABOR, could fix it. The question is: Would Colorado taxpayers be on board with losing some rebate money?

Some Democratic lawmakers at the Capitol are thinking of ways to pay Colorado teachers more money.

A draft bill proposes the state use additional retained revenues to compensate and keep teachers. It does call for an exception for money needed to reimburse local governments for property tax exemptions for seniors, veterans and affordable housing.

Even with the exceptions, Republican strategist and FOX31 Political Analyst Michael Fields said this is not the right answer.

“I was more surprised to see last year when the $750 checks went back, a lot of Democrats and the governor started supporting it, but I’m not surprised that they have gone back to sort of their default position which is that they want more money for the government,” Fields said. “Every year, there is more and more per-pupil spending that is going into education. The problem is that bureaucracy is getting bigger, the administrative costs are getting bigger. The teachers aren’t seeing it. You see the cost of living, housing is more expensive than ever. Teachers need that pay, we need good teachers to stay in the profession. So, I would say with that increase, an increase that’s coming every year, that’s when we have to make sure we are prioritizing teacher pay.”

The outlook on teacher pay is not great in Colorado. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Colorado’s teacher pay penalty was the largest in the nation at 36% in 2021. Many people were happy to get their $750 TABOR rebate checks last year as inflation soared, but in 2019, Magellan Strategies found only 46% of voters they polled approved of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Fields said he does not think taxpayers would approve of their rebates getting smaller right now.

“TABOR is pretty clear that once you are overpopulation plus inflation, the TABOR cap, that money has to go back to the voters. They rejected it a couple of years ago [Prop CC] but I think there is frustration by legislators saying look, we have a blue legislature, we have a governor who is a Democrat, etc. The frustration is that TABOR is holding them back from getting even more revenue but I think that is on purpose,” Fields said.

If a bill is introduced, the concept would still have to be approved by voters. The governor’s office did not directly respond as to whether or not Gov. Jared Polis would support this but a spokesperson did tell FOX31 late Thursday the office has not seen the proposal.