Colorado Capitol

The Colorado state Capitol in Denver.

Never in Colorado has the need been greater for the government to reduce burdens on hard-working taxpayers who are trying to survive and recover from COVID-19’s economic fallout.

Gov. Jared Polis understands this and ordered deregulatory measures intended to liberate businesses from needless expenses and obstacles to success. Restaurants may sell cocktails curbside. Hospitals and clinics may employ visiting or relocating doctors and nurses licensed in other states.

History has shown us without fail that tax cuts and reduced regulations lead to economic growth. That means more and better-paying jobs, better health and an enhanced quality of life. We saw it nationally before the pandemic when tax cuts and deregulation led to the greatest economic era the world has known.

Given our pandemic predicament and the aftermath, Coloradans should line up (keeping distances, of course) to sign a petition for a ballot measure to cut state income taxes.

Polis, who ran on the promise of a tax cut, should support this measure.

Initiative No. 306 would give workers a modest reduction in income taxes, adjusting the flat rate of 4.63% to 4.5%. It will make Colorado slightly more attractive to good employers, such as Tesla, who are looking to relocate to business-friendly states to survive the likely turbulent post-pandemic age.

“The purpose of this ballot initiative is to get Colorado’s economy back to its former strength, by putting money back into the pockets of those who earned it,” says a written statement by Colorado’s Independence Institute, which wrote the initiative.

The measure will compete with another ballot measure that proposes a progressive $2 billion-a-year tax increase that would end Colorado’s popular flat tax. Proponents plan to pitch it as a middle-class tax cut that soaks the rich, but the middle class would do better with No. 306. The progressive tax sets the rate for lower-wage earners at 4.58% compared to the proposed 4.5% flat-tax option.

“Question is: which one is actually the tax cut?” asks Independence Institute President Jon Caldara. “Hint: Not the ballot question that starts ‘Shall state taxes be increased $2,000,000,000 annually.’ ”

Opponents insist the flat-tax cut would cost state government money at a time the state faces massive revenue shortfalls.

That’s unlikely. More likely, the income-tax cut would lead to more jobs, which means more taxpayers funding state government. It would leave more money in take-home paychecks, which would circulate through the economy and generate additional sales taxes. It would help the economy recover and grow, which is the best hope for state government coffers.

Legislative Council staff predicts the flat-tax cut would cost the state $78.1 million in the fiscal year 2019-20 revenues, $158.4 million in 2020-21, and $169.8 million in 2021-22.

That’s not likely true, as those numbers do not take into account the economic activity funded by tax cuts. A tax increase will stagnate the economy; a tax cut will grow it.

Without a healthy economy, nothing — most notably state government — can return to normal. The decision should be easy. We urge voters to sign the petition for No. 306. Get it on the ballot and vote it into law.

Where to sign the petition (10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday):

  • Victor’s Canvassing downtown at 100 East Saint Vrain Street, Suite 105, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
  • Slingers Smokehouse & Saloon in the Powers Center, 5853 Palmer Park Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80915
  • Magnum Shooting Center off Northgate at 13372 Meadowgrass Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
  • Woodmen Valley Shopping Center, 6904 N Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

The Gazette editorial board

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