Letter to the Editor:  Politics…As Usual: Coloradans Left in the Dark



According to the Colorado State Statute, bills are required to be introduced within the first few weeks of the legislative session unless they have been approved by House and Senate leadership to have a late or delayed introduction. The introduction deadlines ensure transparency, allowing stakeholders to provide indispensable feedback. Introducing a highly controversial bill the last week of session prompted people to question whether some in the legislature wish to be voices of the people, or puppets to the Polis administration.

SB23-303 Reduce Property Taxes And Voter-approved Revenue Change was introduced on May 1, eight days before the end of session. Those of us in the Colorado House of Representatives did not see the bill until Cinco de Mayo Saturday. From there, the bill entered the House Appropriations Committee, bypassing other House committees, and receiving limited stakeholder testimony.

In Governor Polis’s press conference, he packaged Prop. HH as a long-term solution reducing property taxes for commercial and residential property, allowing people to stay in their homes, and funding public services, like education. The language in the speech sounded familiar, he alluded to this bill during his State of the State Address on the first day of the 2023 Legislative Session. If the Governor had enough information to casually reference this bill during his State of the State address, his team could have outlined and proposed the bill long before May 1.

If legislators were briefed on this bill just before they voted on it, exactly how much notice did constituents receive to offer testimony during committee hearings? For those of us who live in Southern Colorado, where a drive to The Capitol can exceed six hours, attending these “hearings” would have been impossible. The locally elected officials you trust to advocate for your livelihoods, like your county commissioners, clerk and recorder council members, and mayors, did not have the opportunity to voice concerns on your behalf either.

Why are stakeholders crucial to the legislative process? While your elected officials are in their positions to provide a voice for your district at the State level, the members of the General Assembly are only 100 people out of Colorado’s 5.9 million residents. Stakeholdering bills is necessary to create a wealth of knowledge from diverse life experiences and to ensure that the Colorado Legislature remains the People’s Legislature. Public participation in the lawmaking process is designed to prevent the passage of bills that are not tailored to the interests of the people they impact.

When we, in the House of Representatives, were asked to vote to approve Senate Amendments in the Third Reading of SB23-303 on the final day of session, the Majority Party used their power to limit our discussion. I joined your House Minority Party in a walkout protest. The valid concerns we raised regarding the motivation and execution of this bill were trivialized and slighted.

In order to withhold TABOR funding from Colorado Taxpayers, the Colorado Legislature must draft the measure in a bill and sign it into law. The bill placing Proposition HH on the November ballot was signed into law on May 24, 2023.

On Election Day this November, Coloradans will decide the future of our TABOR refunds and government spending. Not only does a no vote protect Coloradans from losing their refunds and limit government spending, but it also tells Governor Jared Polis that we do not accept the clandestine tactics used to pass this legislation. I urge you to vote no on Prop. HH.


Ty Winter
State Representative
House District 47
Room 641

Filed Under: Letters to the Editor

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