KC Becker is the 39th and current Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives since 2019. She has represented the state’s 13th district since 2013. Prior to her legislative service, she served on the Boulder City Council, where she was the council’s representative on the Boulder Urban Renewal Authority and was the city’s representative to the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG). Becker was elected to the Boulder City Council in 2009.
As a Boulder resident who works in Denver, I’ve driven, carpooled, vanpooled, bussed and biked U.S. 36 more times than I can remember. I’ll never lose that sense of wonder when I head home over Davidson Mesa and catch a glimpse of the Indian Peaks looming over the Flatirons.
But looming even larger over the Front Range is a local crisis that’s unfolding as a national embarrassment: the best economy in the country–the envy of other states–saddled with $9 billion in transportation needs, all without a dedicated funding source (see: no plan for the future). We’re one of the worst states in road conditions and urban congestion, adding up to over $2300 per year per person in car repairs and lost time.
It started almost 30 years ago with a narrow vote on a ballot measure called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), which is the most restrictive state spending limits in the country. Almost every business, academic and public sector leader will tell you: forcing the state to uphold this antiquated law and refund taxes to individuals over an arbitrary limit may be good politics, but it’s awful policy. No matter how much money the state collects from things like corporate tax and tourism revenue, it can’t invest much of it in basic services.
We make our communities feel the brunt of the bad times without the benefit of the good times.
Because of this irrational cap on spending, these forced rebates will average $37 per person next year. Don’t get me wrong, for a lot of Coloradans that’s a lot of money—a tank of gas, a few days of groceries, two weeks of diapers, a date night.
But proposition CC is asking voters to pool this money to the tune of $309 million for the state next year, and likely more in years to follow. With one vote we can use our temporary refunds to untangle our broken tax code and invest the money the state already collects in three specific areas: transportation, K-12 Education and Higher Education. That’s $103 million for transportation and transit needs,$103 million for schools and $103 million for higher ed.
These refunds may be $37 for the average Coloradan, but they’re a windfall for the wealthiest — closer to $1000, reimbursing them more for just having more money.
If we can allow the state to invest this money it already collects, without raising taxes, we can invest these one-off refunds into the long-term health of the state.
Under Proposition CC, 40% of the new money for transportation will go straight to local and county governments. Places like Louisville, Broomfield, Boulder and the whole Front Range corridor will be able to identify and invest in their specific transportation priorities. The other 60% will go to the embarrassingly underfunded state transit fund.
We can, as Commuting Solutions says, create “transportation options that connect commuters to their workplaces, businesses to their employees, and residents to their communities.”
Proposition CC won’t eliminate Colorado’s budget woes, but it’s a great step forward–without raising taxes. And it’s exactly what conservatives have been asking us to do for decades: act within the limits of TABOR and invest in our needs with the money we already have.
Proposition CC is a defining moment for Colorado’s future. We can reduce congestion, improve our schools and keep our economy firing on all cylinders, simply by allowing state and local governments to keep and invest the money it already collects.
I’d be grateful for your support. Together, we can do better–for our kids, our schools and our transit. Together, we can invest in Colorado’s future!
Visit yesonpropcc.com to learn more.