A new bipartisan group has formed in Colorado which will seek to examine the big political issues in Colorado. The group led by leaders from both the Democrat and Republican parties will hold town halls across the state. The group called “Building A Better Colorado” will be stopping in 40 different cities and towns across Colorado. The newly formed group will seek to address some of the central conflicts in the state, including the controversial constitutional measure, the Tax Payers Bill of Rights, a.k.a TABOR, and other central conflicts in how the state is governed. These conflicts include Colorado’s ability to fund and build new roads, fund education, and engage with an electorate that is checked out and disillusioned, and preparing for the future for our state.
“Building A Better Colorado” is the creation of former University of Denver chancellor, Dan Ritchie. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper will be involved with the group, as will former Colorado governors Bill Ritter and Roy Romer. Also lending a hand to the group will be Ken Salazar, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and two former Denver mayors, Wellington Webb and Federico Peña. On the Republican side there will be leadership to the group from former U.S. Senator Hank Brown, former state lawmakers Gigi Dennis and Norma Anderson, and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, a former state attorney general.
To what degree the group focuses on TABOR remains to be seen, but Republicans are already concerned that the group will focus on TABOR and how to weaken or change TABOR’s grip on state funding and taxes. Gov. Hickenlooper has repeatedly voiced concern over the state’s ability to meet financial challenges in part due to TABOR over recent months.
As a person who has been frustrated by the constraints of TABOR, I am encouraged by the formation of this bipartisan group. Hopefully the group can listen to the needs of the constituents of the state and find common ground to help address some of the central challenges in the state, including the funding challenges for roads, education, and government services. I am for the amending TABOR if not outright repealing it, but much of the state supports keeping TABOR in place as a way of curbing government spending and tax increases. But to these citizens I ask, how do we build and maintain roads, address a booming population growth, fund our schools and pay our teachers, and pay for government services with an aging Baby Boomer population who will need government services?
Hopefully the group finds answers and proposes solutions. Here’s hoping!