DENVER — “Governor Hickenlooper, read your blue book.”
That was the subject line in an email from Compass Colorado Tuesday afternoon.
The conservative group is criticizing Hickenlooper, a Democrat facing reelection next year, for a statement he made last week during a summit in Washington, DC.
Near the bottom of a story on Hickenlooper that focused on his supposed presidential ambitions or lack thereof, the governor was asked about Colorado’s new legal marijuana marketplace and, specifically, the taxes it’ll generate.
“We have a healthy tax on the ballot this fall to really make sure we can regulate it properly,” Hickenlooper said. “We don’t want to make a profit. We’re not going to take marijuana taxes and put it toward public education or anything like that.”
Proposition AA, which is on the statewide ballot in November, asks citizens to approve a 15 percent marijuana excise tax and a 10 percent state sales tax; much of the revenues from the excise tax are supposed to go to fund school construction, according to the language of Amendment 64, which voters approved in 2012.
“The fact that Gov. Hickenlooper, our state’s chief executive, doesn’t even know what’s on the ballot is, frankly, shocking,” said Compass Colorado’s Kelly Maher in the press release.
“This is simply another facet of his poor leadership. His statement should cause Coloradans to question whether he has a firm grasp of other critical ballot issues.
“For example, does the governor fully understand the negative impact that Amendment 66, the billion dollar tax increase, will have on Coloradans?” Maher continued, referring to the education reform initiative that depends on voters this November approving $950 million in new income taxes.
Hickenlooper’s spokesman, Eric Brown, dismissed the criticism.
“Public education is not these same as school construction,” Brown told FOX31 Denver. “The governor didn’t say the money goes into the classroom. We know some of the money goes for school construction.”