DENVER – On the heels of the initial gubernatorial debates, a theme has emerged from Jared Polis on how he would govern: he wants it both ways. Polis has continuously advocated for massive expansions of government – his health care, education, and energy programs will all require multi-billion dollar state revenue increases to implement in a Polis administration. The current bill for his ideas is estimated at $90 billion and climbing.
Despite the high price tag for his proposals, when confronted with the costs Congressman Polis hides behind his go-to cop-out that the Governor alone cannot raise taxes. Although this is accurate, Governors in the past have put their name on the weight of their office on the line in order to convince voters an increase in revenue was needed. Polis makes no such promises.
Ultimately, with a state constitutional provision preventing debt, it’s impossible to have it both ways.
“Either Polis recognizes he cannot raise taxes and by extension cannot implement a single one of the massive programs for which he’s advocating,” said Kelly Maher, executive director of Compass Colorado. “Or Polis needs to recognize that each of his expensive ideas would require a full-throated call from the Governor for the additional tax revenue to implement. Polis is attempting to have his proverbial cake and eat it too. Which is it, Jared? Do you want new massive taxes for your proposed programs or to hide behind the fact a governor can’t raise taxes alone for political cover? This is a simple either/or and you can’t have it both ways.”