JCBL Legislative Update: Four transportation funding measures filed for the November 2018 ballot
By Jeff Weist
Jefferson County Business Lobby
February 23, 2018
One of the Jefferson County Business Lobby’s top priorities for 2018, as in years past, is increasing the state’s investment in our transportation infrastructure. Colorado is amassing a transportation investment deficit of nearly $1 billion each year, and we are spending half as much on transportation, on a per-person basis, as we did 25 years ago. While transportation funding has also been a top priority for the Republican and Democratic leaderships in the State Legislature, finding bi-partisan compromise on how to achieve it has been hard.
As a result, a business-led bi-partisan coalition this week filed four similar ballot titles in the hopes of asking the voters this coming November for an increase in the state sales tax to fund roads. The coalition is led by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Contractors Association, along with a number of local elected officials and community leaders.
According to the coalition, “These proposals increase the sales tax by point-five percent, point-six-two percent or one-point-zero percent, which amounts to just five to ten cents on a ten dollar purchase. A fourth proposal includes a point-five percent sales tax increase and requires the state to transfer $150 million from the general fund each year to state and local transportation projects. One proposal will ultimately be chosen to go forward, a decision that is dependent on the final amount that the state Legislature dedicates to transportation in this year’s budget.”
An expected surplus of state income tax revenue resulting from the recently-enacted federal tax reform bill has created an opportunity to dedicate some of that new revenue to transportation. The Republican and Democratic leaderships are in preliminary negotiations to determine how much, if any, of that surplus will go to roads.
While the four ballot initiatives filed this week vary in the amount of new revenue to be raised, all four would distribute those new dollars in the same manner. Forty-five percent would go to CDOT to address major projects like I-25 and I-70, and would be available to be bonded so the proceeds can be realized early and the work completed faster.
Forty percent of the new revenue would be split 50-50 among cities and counties, who would have flexibility to determine its best use.
And 15% would be spent by the state on multi-modal transportation options like mass transit, bike lanes, etc.
The tax increase would sunset after 20 years, the expected pay off of any bonds issued on the revenue.
The JCBL has not yet taken a position on any of these proposed ballot initiatives, but we will keep you updated.
Just a reminder that you can find the status of all of the JCBL bills at jeffcobusinesslobby.org. While you are there, sign up for regular updates under the “Take Action” icon. Lastly, please mark your calendars for the JCBL Day at the Capitol on March 6th from 8-11am.
The Jefferson County Business Lobby is the united voice of JeffCo businesses at the Colorado State Capitol. The JCBL is a partnership comprised of the Arvada, Evergreen, Golden, West Metro, Westminster and Wheat Ridge Chambers of Commerce, the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation and the Applewood and Wheat Ridge Business Associations.