Attention: This is not a current document. It is an excerpt from the Web page of the former Colorado governor, Roy Romer. It is displayed by the Colorado State Archives for its historical value.
April 13, 1998
The Honorable Colorado
House of Representatives
Sixty-first General Assembly
Second Regular Session
Denver, CO 80203
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am returning to you House Bill 98-1065, "Concerning the Elimination of the State Sales Tax on Telephone and Telegraph Services," which I vetoed today at 2:51 PM . This letter sets forth my reasoning for vetoing the bill.
First, we cannot afford a permanent tax cut which would take $70 million out of our general fund base the first year, and could reach as much as $400 million over five years. Such a large cut in our base will fundamentally erode our ability to educate children down the road.
Second, because of TABOR, the General Assembly would be unable to reinstate this tax in future years if the situation warranted it. That step could only be taken if approved by a statewide vote of the people.
Third, we cannot approach tax policy on a piece-meal basis. We need a comprehensive review of our tax system, which the General Assembly has not yet conducted. Before we cut any tax of this significance, we should make sure our overall tax system - income, sales, property and other taxes - is fair and makes sense for our economy.
Let me elaborate on the first two points. Permanent tax cuts may be politically appealing in the short-term, but in the long-term they hurt our ability to keep Colorado strong. One of our fundamental responsibilities as elected officials is to ensure a long-term, stable funding base for public education, public safety, transportation, health care and other essential services for the people of Colorado. Undermining that base is unwise.
Right now, we have good economic times in Colorado, and we have budget surpluses. But even now, this legislature is not providing enough money for our schools to keep up with inflation. Even now, public schools are being squeezed.
Over the next 5 years, we can, and should, return a portion of the surplus to citizens, and make key investments in transportation and capital construction for schools and higher education. We can take these steps, and at the same time increase funding for schools, because we have a strong revenue base.
But neither the good times nor the budget surpluses will last forever. I remember when the economy was not so strong, when we were unable to adequately fund education and transportation. As long as I am Governor, I will do everything in my power to make sure we are not in that position again.
Colorado has become one of the strongest economies in the nation because over the last decade we have made wise investments, enacted sound policies and worked in every community to help create good jobs and ensure economic growth and opportunity. To continue on this course, we must be thoughtful in these good economic times. And that means managing our fiscal policy responsibly, and making critical investments in education, transportation and other priorities.
H.B. 1065 does not keep us on this responsible course, and I have therefore vetoed it.
Last modified June 18, 2003