Gov. Hickenlooper is still trying to reduce TABOR refunds

Rachel Estabrook- CPR News

Just weeks before the Colorado Legislature wrapped up its 2015 session, Gov. John Hickenlooper introduced a proposal that, in a few years, would result in the state having more money to put towards transportation and education, but reduce refunds to taxpayers. Though the proposal failed, Hickenlooper said he'll continue to push it in coming months.

The governor had proposed reclassifying a fee paid by hospitals so that it does not count against the state's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, or TABOR, limit. TABOR dictates that if the state collects more than a certain amount of tax revenue, it must return excess revenue to citizens. Hickenlooper said other fees don't count against that limit, and the hospital fee shouldn't either. 

The proposal didn't get any Republican support in the session that ended last Thursday, in part because lawmakers said they didn't want to take any TABOR refund money back from taxpayers. 

Hickenlooper said he took the idea public after months of working behind the scenes to build momentum for it.

"We got to the point where it didn't seem likely that we were going to achieve a compromise, so we wanted to let the public have a debate, because there are two sides to the argument," the governor added.

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