Tue, Sep 20, 2022 1:40 PM
By Derek Draplin, The Center Square
A new report says Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has "failed" a campaign promise to crack down on tax benefits for special interests, instead increasing such benefits to the tune of $640 million over the next decade.
The report by the Independence Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank, analyzed legislation signed by the governor in his first term that affects tax expenditures. In 2018 while running for office, Polis said his administration would go after "special interest tax giveaway" and lower income taxes.
Since Polis was elected governor, he's signed seven bills that included some tax benefit reductions, while 46 bills resulted in net increases to tax benefits, according to the report. Bills reducing tax benefits have a $3.86 billion impact over 10 years, the think tank found, while bills increasing tax benefits have a $4.5 billion impact.
The report acknowledges that Polis's administration has "made progress" regarding vendor fees and corporate tax benefits.
"Despite this progress, bills signed into law by Polis caused a net increase rather than decrease in the amount of money the state will spend on special interest tax benefits," the report concludes. "For that reason, this report concludes that the governor has failed to deliver on the first part of his tax reform campaign pledge."
A spokesperson for the governor defended his record on taxes in a statement sent to The Center Square.
"Governor Polis ended tax breaks for big insurance companies, oil and gas special interests, and big box retailers and passed the savings to the taxpayers of Colorado," the spokesperson said. "This 'report' conducted by a wildly partisan group is nothing but another politically motivated attack Coloradans are sick and tired of."
The spokesperson added that the governor's administration "is delivering real results for Coloradans who are receiving $750 checks as a result of our rapidly growing and strong economy."
"The Governor has a proven record and has focused on cutting property taxes, fixing our roads and bridges, supporting entrepreneurs, making it nearly free to start a business, and cutting taxes for small businesses," the spokesperson added. "He invites more support from both sides of the aisle for his work to close tax loopholes and reduce tax rates."