Crowder lights match with Hullinghorst to burn TABOR
DENVER— In a twist of events, state Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, and Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, introduced House Bill 1420 to turn the hospital provider tax into an enterprise fund.
Advancing Colorado Executive Director Jonathan Lockwood released the following statement:
“We know Speaker Hullinghorst is a legislative pyromaniac, and it is no secret Sen. Crowder can be lobbied into engaging in constitutional arson. This unconstitutional bill isn’t about helping people, it is about fantasy budgeting and taking more money away from Colorado workers. The Senate must prevent this bill from being voted on because if they don’t we will have to look at them as an accomplice to handing Gov. Hickenlooper everything he wanted.”
Advancing Colorado, a free-market non-profit, spearheaded targeting Crowder for his support for reworking the hospital provider tax. Opponents generally agree the intentions of HB 1420 would violate Colorado’s constitution and shift money into the state’s general fund instead of being properly refunded to taxpayers.
Prior to introducing HB 1420, Crowder, who also helped push Medicaid expansion, admitted he’s been lobbied heavily by hospitals and said, “what we need to do on the hospital user tax is compromise.”
A memo from the non-partisan Office of Legislative Legal Services said that designating the hospital provider tax “enterprise” as TABOR-exempt would not withstand legal challenges because it would not satisfy the requirement of being a government-owned business. Meaning, the money collected would be included in state fiscal year spending and counted against both state fiscal year spending limits.
The full text of HB 1420 can be read here.