April 10, 2013
Colorado House District 57 Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale
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This November, Colorado citizens will vote for or against the first progressive income tax and the largest income tax increase in the state’s history. The new tax will raise about $1 billion each year to increase funding for K-12 public schools and new pre-K-12 programs. The legislation that the new funding supports also changes the formula by which money is distributed to school districts in Colorado.
Folks who I meet with are starting to ask what I think the session will be like next year. Will it be as divisive and downright hostile as the 2013 session? Or will the fact that it’s a campaign year soften the bills and the rhetoric? The 2014 session is bound to be dominated by the residual effects of the partisan controversial bills from 2013. There’s still unfinished business resulting from at least four of the big bills from last year.
It seems that some crisis always is upon us. Our fellow Coloradans on the Front Range have suffered fires and floods of historic proportions. And now the federal government has shut down because of the debate on Obamacare. While we sympathize and pray for our fellow citizens and closely monitor the news on the shutdown, some crises affect our daily lives more directly than others. I’m proud of our state agencies, the National Guard and the federal resources that came to the rescue and support of flood victims, and I read with great concern the ongoing daily reports and developments.
It’s impossible to represent and listen to folks in the northwest corner of Colorado without feeling the impacts of federal land management decisions. The socio-economic impact of federal decisions on the local communities of western Colorado is enormous. This month’s column focuses on that single, critical issue.
During the summer, I’ve been on a commission that’s mission is to “oversee” the implementation of House Bill 1303. This is the new law to “strengthen the participation of individuals in the election process.”
I’ve now had a new experience under the golden dome of the Capitol, almost completely shrouded for renovation. Last week, the House debated the budget known as the “long bill.” I honestly don’t know how to describe it except to say it felt more like a partisan bickering session over how to spend a lot of new money on old programs than it resembled a real budget. It passed at 11 p.m. Friday.