DENVER — Proposition 116, an initiative on Colorado’s November ballot that would lower the state’s income tax rate is quickly picking up key endorsements ranging from highly respected current and former elected officials to business organizations.
“As Governor, I was proud to cut income taxes from 5 percent to 4.63 percent, which created jobs while helping Colorado’s families,” said former Colorado Governor Bill Owens. “Proposition 116 is needed more than ever during this recession to get Colorado moving again, while allowing Coloradans to keep more of what they earn.”
If passed, Colorado’s flat income tax rate will go from 4.63 percent to 4.55 percent starting with the 2020 tax year.
Another big-name endorsement came from former US Senator and former CU and UNC President Hank Brown.
“Colorado taxpayers deserve some help as we pull ourselves and our economy out of this recession,” Brown said. “Prop 116 helps offset all the tax increases the legislature has passed without going to voters by calling them ‘fees.’”
Tony Gagliardi, the state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, told Complete Colorado that legislators complain time after time when they have to make small refunds of $12 or $24 under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), adding it only makes sense to just reduce the state tax rate so they don’t have to refund anything, adding that tax breaks contribute to increased tax revenue because it gives people more money to spend.
“Everybody benefits from a tax cut,” Gagliardi said. “Because of the government shut down, plus the masks and unemployment, small businesses are already going to get hit with higher unemployment taxes, and if the family leave bill passes. They will far surpass any tax cut, but every little bit helps.”
Gagliardi said his organization, which represents more than 7,000 small businesses across Colorado, is endorsing the tax cut for several reasons to ease the financial burden placed on small businesses.
Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and former US Congressman Bob Beauprez have also added their names to the list of endorsements for the tax rate reduction measure.
Proponents of the measure, Independence Institute* President Jon Caldara and Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, introduced Proposition 116 in response to another proposed initiative that sought to repeal Colorado’s flat income tax rate and replace it with a progressive rate that would increase taxes on Coloradans as they earned more.
That initiative, however, was unable to gather the signatures needed and will not appear on the ballot.
Writing in a recent opinion piece for Complete Colorado, Ben Murrey, fiscal policy director for the Independence Institute noted that “the beauty of Proposition 116…lies in its simplicity; it will decrease taxes for all Colorado taxpayers. Period.”
According to the Colorado Sun, a left-leaning digital news site, Governor Polis also praised the measure shortly after it made it on to the ballot, “We’ve long sought an income tax decrease… particularly in this challenging time, I think Coloradans certainly need tax relief,” the Sun reported Polis as saying.
Proposition 116 is a statutory change, meaning it needs 50 percent plus one of the vote to pass, and lawmakers can later amend the measure if enacted, as with any other state law.
*Editor’s Note: Independence Institute is the publisher of Complete Colorado.