This Is How Colorado’s GOP Wants To Kick-Start The Economy, Balance The Budget

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David Zalubowski/AP
Protesters wave placards as they call for the reopening of the state’s businesses closed to check the spread of the new coronavirus Friday, May 1, 2020, in front of the State Capitol in Denver.

Republicans at the statehouse unveiled several proposals Monday morning that they plan to introduce to get Colorado rolling again when lawmakers return on May 26 to finish the legislative session.

The top priority will be to pass a balanced budget, which lawmakers are constitutionally required to do — and must complete before the next fiscal year begins July 1. It’s a task that is complicated by the fact that the state faces a $3.3 billion budget shortfall

Some of the GOP ideas are pinned to traditional ideas on tax reform. Others are aimed at jump-starting an economy that wilted as the pandemic took hold of the state.

“We recognize this has been an incredibly challenging and struggling time for all Coloradans over the last two and a half months,” House Minority Leader Patrick Neville said. “And when we get back in session, we need to have a clear plan on how we are going to get this state back on track, and how we are going to help families and individuals and how we are going to help this state recover.” 

Republicans hold the minority in both legislative chambers so their proposals would need some Democratic support to pass. Democrats have not yet announced policy ideas for the rest of the session and say details are still being finalized. 

House Republican policy ideas:

  • No budget cuts to K-12 schools
  • No suspension of the senior homestead property tax exemption
  • Reduce interest and penalties for late property tax payments
  • Cap unemployment insurance premiums
  • Increase the business personal property tax exemption
  • Repeal a law that requires employers to make up the difference if a tipped employee doesn’t earn the minimum wage
  • Work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to bolster the Colorado Proud label
  • Support limits on a governor's ability to shut down the economy and distribute federal dollars

Legislative leaders from both parties are still working out the details of how the state capitol building will operate when lawmakers return in person, given that lawmakers normally work in close quarters.