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Colorado's special legislative session may come cheap

October 1, 2017 Updated: October 1, 2017 at 3:58 pm
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Denver, CO, United States - September 23, 2005: The Colorado State Capitol Building is the home of the Colorado General Assembly and the offices of the Governor of Colorado and Lieutenant Governor of Colorado. The building was constructed in the 1890s from Colorado white granite, and opened for use in November 1894. The distinctive gold dome consists of real gold leaf

The special session that starts Monday won't cost taxpayers a dime, at least not most taxpayers, the governor's office tells Colorado Politics.

Gov. John Hickenlooper brokered the deal, because special districts - those that collect taxes for special services, such as bus and transit lines or parks and museums - stand to lose millions because of an error in Senate Bill 267.

The omnibus spending bill had lengthy details and passed in a hurry during the final days of the legislative session that ended in May. The compromise bill to save rural hospitals monkeyed with the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, but it also inadvertently unraveled special districts' ability to continue to collect a tax on retail marijuana sales.

Special districts are political subdivisions of the state that collect taxes to provide specific public services, including ambulances, fire protection, water or sanitation. The pot revenue makes up only a small portion of their income, but adds up to millions statewide.

The session is expected to cost between $20,000 a day and $25,000 a day. The last special session in 2012 cost $23,500 a day. It takes at least three days to pass a bill in the session, since the two floor votes in a chamber can't happen on the same day.

While legislators can't stray beyond the single subject of Hickenlooper's session call, they could offer lengthy amendments or kill the bill in a committee. .

Some Republicans are hopping mad at the governor for calling the special session instead of waiting for the next regular session to begin on Jan. 10.

Hickenlooper raised the possibility that special districts would cover the cost of a more timely fix during an interview with Colorado Politics on Wednesday. His office confirmed that that would be the case Thursday night.

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