Colorado Gov. Polis Raised Special-Interest Tax Benefits, Breaking Pledge

A new report by the Independence Institute claims that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, expanded special-interest tax benefits during his first term, breaking promises he made on the campaign trail. 

The report asserts that despite promising to cut tax loopholes, Polis instead signed bills increasing them by nearly $640 million. 

“To win votes in 2018, Jared Polis told Coloradans he would cut special-interest tax giveaways if elected governor. That year, he and his party took unified control of Colorado’s state government,” said Ben Murrey, the study’s author, in an exclusive statement to The Daily Signal. “But instead of reducing special tax benefits as promised, he and his political allies spent the next four years redistributing them to their own politically favored special interests.” 

Murrey, the Independence Institute’s director of fiscal policy, added: “Voters were clearly duped by Polis’ empty words.” 

The report used data taken from official state sources to conclude that the tax expenditures expanded special-interest tax benefits to the tune of around $640 million.  

Murrey noted that, out of 50 bills signed by Polis relating to tax expenditures, 46 increased expenditures while only four reduced them. 

As a result, the report concluded, the 10-year impact of the bills reduces tax benefits by $3.86 billion, but increases them by $4.5 billion for a net increase of about $640 million. 

Murrey said that based on the data, Polis does not deserve his reputation as a governor with an effective tax policy.  

“Despite repealing and reducing some tax benefits, because Polis increased far more tax benefits by a much larger amount in total, this report concludes that he has failed to deliver on his tax-reform campaign pledge,” Murrey wrote. “On the contrary, his actions mostly contradicted the tax-reform platform upon which voters elected him in 2018.” 

The report additionally asserts that the 50 bills relating to tax expenditures will cost the state more than $300 million to administer, as well as impact the amount of money Coloradans will receive from their Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights refunds.  

According to Colorado’s Department of Revenue, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights amendment to Colorado’s state constitution limits the amount of revenue governments in the state can keep and spend. The amendment also requires excess revenue to be refunded to Colorado taxpayers.  

According to Murrey, Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights refund forecasts for the next four fiscal years show reduced refunds of about $211.59 million. 

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