He said state lawmakers could increase severance taxes or reduce the tax credits. If lawmakers don't act, others are willing to put a measure on the ballot to collect more money from Colorado's booming energy economy.He seems to believe that the legislature has the power to change tax policy and tax rates without going to the people. It doesn't.
Instead of asking the legislature to send a referendum to the people on the subject, he sought to try to force legislators to act unconstitutionally with the following statement:
"If we decide to do nothing at all, there are going to be people out there that I think will push the agenda anyway. The question becomes where you dedicate the money, and that's also a very lively conversation. We have very significant needs around higher education funding, and we have significant needs around transportation funding, and those certainly are on the list. There are people who think we should pursue a health care agenda with severance taxes, others who say we should pursue a K-12 agenda, some who say it should be about open space and another crowd that says it should be about renewable energy,"
Bill Ritter is a lawyer with a lawyer's contempt for the law.
CBS4Denver has more.
Added: We may have been victimized by poor reporting by CBS4Denver. The Durango Herald has a different take:
Gov. Bill Ritter and legislative leaders will decide by next month whether to ask voters to raise taxes on the gas and oil industry.
If there is a lesson here, it is that Bill Ritter has destroyed his credibility about his willingness to follow the Constitution with the property tax "freeze." We and others are willing to believe the worst about him when it comes to taxes.