Lawmakers put $2.3 billion transportation measure on ice

By Jon Murray


Colorado voters won’t face a $2.3 billion transportation bonding measurein November, a change that Democrats hope will smooth the road for another ballot question asking to nix certain tax refunds.

The state House voted 49-14 on Thursday to approve Senate Bill 263, delaying the bonding question — which had been teed up a year ago as part of a bipartisan transportation compromise — until the November 2020 election. The Senate approved the delay 32-3 on Wednesday.

This year the majority Democrats shifted their priority for this fall’s ballot to House Speaker KC Becker’s plan, approved in April by both chambers, to ask voters to “de-Bruce” state government. That would mean lifting spending caps under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights that require excess revenue to be refunded to taxpayers — with the resulting money split in thirds among transportation, public schools and higher education.

“If we were to move forward this year (with the bonding measure), the same thing we saw last fall — with two competing ballot measures on transportation — would sink them both,” predicted Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, an Arvada Democrat, during a floor debate this week.

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