Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday called for lawmakers to put a measure on the November ballot that asks voters for a tax hike to improve roads and expand transit, setting the bar for one of the top debates this session.
“We’ve had this debate for too long,” the Democrat said in his annual State of State address. “If talk could fill potholes, we’d have the best roads in the country.”
The governor’s 38-minute address also featured a forceful rebuttal to Republican efforts in the nation’s capital and Colorado to dismantle the federal health-care law and Medicaid expansion, pledging he would “fight for a replacement plan that protects the people who are covered now and doesn’t take us backward.”
In a political twist, he pushed for states to retain more control on the issue: “I think most of us would agree that the last thing we want is Congress making all of our decisions around health care,” he said.
The defense of the Affordable Care Act drew hoots and hollers from Democratic lawmakers and icy stares from Republicans in one of the more divisive moments in a speech Hickenlooper had billed as unifying.