(Editor’s note: This is a response in its entirety from Rep.Tim Leonard, (R-Evergreen) to the story: “Bills funding transportation, schools and hospitals appear dead; stalled in the House” that appeared in Complete Colorado on April 21.)
A well-written article elaborating on the politics of allocating taxes.
HB-1242 and SB-267 are trying hard to solve a transportation problem but each bill lacks the courage to solve the real problem behind our road building issue: Legislators lack the intestinal fortitude to prioritize road and bridge building within the top 100 funding list.
Our Colorado State Budget has grown $1,000,000,000 each year for the past 9 years. That’s right. Our budget was $18.6B in 2008/09 and is $28.3B in 2017/18. I bet we solved a lot of problems with that new $10B the taxpayers gave to the State. Wrong.
The media and politicians only talk about “cuts.” That’s because the Governor and his Increase-Government-As-Fast-As-Possible legislators love taking money from the private sector to fund more pet projects.
Forget all these fancy bills that shuffle money and try to play the shell game with Taxpayers. Let’s just take the funds we already have and use them for our constitutional purposes, not social engineering.
These two bills – HB-1242 and SB-267 – need to die an ignominious death so we can get on to funding road and bridge projects without a tax increase.
How about these startling facts: we paid off $1.5B of debt from the 1999 T-Rex bond issue only four months ago in December with yearly payments of $168M. What if we keep paying those same payments, add $19M to them, and issue a TRANs bond of $2.5B to build the 61 Tier 1 highway projects on CDOT’s critical list?
Bond underwriters ran the numbers and we can do this in July 2018 without any new tax revenue. $187M pays for a 20-year bond for $2.5B today that builds all 61 of the critical projects.
All the hocus-pocus of these two bills just tries to involve the hospitals, TABOR refunds, and a huge multi-modal department completely unrelated to CDOT. Let’s just keep our roads growing with our population. Every 20 years, we need to bond for more road building, but taxes do not need to be raised to do so.
Timothy J. Leonard
State Representative HD-25