Senate Republicans knock Heath on tax increases

As State Senator Rollie Heath calls on Colorado voters to raise taxes in order to better fund education, his friends across the aisle today offered praise to Governor John Hickenlooper for agreeing that now is no time to raise taxes.

Senate Republicans today introduced a Senate Resolution stating an “opposition to tax increases” during the 68th General Assembly, a pledge they said coincides with remarks made by Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper that Coloradans “have no appetite to raise taxes.”

“Colorado families and businesses have said loud and clear they do not want any more taxes during this recession,” said Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp in a press release. “They know a tax increase will only exacerbate the economic slowdown and that like them, government must live within its means.”

The Senate Republicans’ resolution comes on the same day that Heath held a press conference to discuss his proposal for a tax increase to fund education.

Assistant Minority Leader Bill Cadman said, “We hear the wishes of Colorado citizens, but unlike Senator Heath, we believe them! We are committed to protecting Colorado families and businesses from Heath’s insatiable appetite to take more of their money.”

The text of the Senate Republicans’ Resolution is below.

Concerning The Colorado Senate Making A Declaration Of Opposition
To All Tax Increases During The Sixty-Eighth General Assembly

WHEREAS, The General Assembly’s top priority is recognized to be supporting job creation and economic recovery; and

WHEREAS, We agree with Governor John Hickenlooper’s statement in his State of the State address that “sustainable jobs are created by the private sector”; and

WHEREAS, According to the most recent data available, at least 7 233,300 Coloradans are unemployed; and

WHEREAS, Colorado’s unemployment rate is currently at 8.8%, which is higher than it was in January of 2010; and

WHEREAS, Increasing taxes on businesses reduces their incentives to spend, invest, and hire new employees; and

WHEREAS, Increasing taxes on individuals and families reduces the income they have to spend on essentials like food, housing, and health care; and

WHEREAS, Colorado families and businesses are still suffering from the effects of the ongoing recession; and

WHEREAS, Increasing taxes is antithetical to economic growth; and

WHEREAS, The state’s budget shortfall is a direct result of the economic slowdown; and

WHEREAS, We agree with President Barack Obama’s statement in his 2012 budget that as of December 2010 “a potential tax increase at this time presented a real risk of a return to recession”; and

WHEREAS, Increasing taxes will exacerbate the economic slowdown and will further erode tax revenues; and

WHEREAS, Governor Hickenlooper has repeatedly stated that there is no appetite in Colorado for tax increases; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Sixty-eighth General Assembly of the State of Colorado:

That we, the members of the Colorado Senate, resolve not to increase the tax burden on Colorado families and businesses during the Sixty-eighth General Assembly.

The state cut about $260 million from its K-12 education budget in FY 2010-11. The most recent proposal for FY 2011-12 would impact K-12 by another $375 million, and it includes a $36 million general fund cut to higher education. The FY 2011-12 budget has not been finalized yet.

“This is unacceptable to me,” said Heath about the cuts. “As a businessman, I fully understand that we need economic development in Colorado to continue climbing out of this recession. I also understand that education equals economic development, which in turn equals jobs. If we want to compete in a knowledge-based and technological world of the future, we’ll need excellence in education, and that requires funding.”

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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