Colorado Voters Vote for Democrats—and for Tax Cuts

By: Ryan McMaken

The Colorado Republican Party is the very definition of “sadsack.” Over the past 15 years or so, the Party has repeatedly nominated candidates for office that were so inept and so uninspiring that even a population that wanted tax cuts couldn’t bring itself to vote for the GOP. How do we know a majority of the voters want tax cuts, even if they keep voting for Democratic governors and legislators? We know this because even when a majority of the voters repeatedly vote Democrat, they simultaneously vote for statewide referenda that lower taxes. 

We saw this in 2016 when a majority of the voters cast ballots for Democrat Jared Polis while at the same time voting down proposals for new taxes and new regulations against businesses. 

A similar thing happened this year. A majority of voters went with the Democratic candidate for the US Senate (John Hickenlooper) but simultaneously voted for a cut to the state’s income tax. Voters also passed a new law requiring a vote on future attempts to raise fees for state “enterprises” like state parks. 

The requirement for a statewide vote has proven to be a significant barrier. Voters in the state have overwhelmingly voted down attempts at raising statewide taxes. At the local level, taxpayers have proven much more tolerant, especially when new taxes are earmarked for specific purposes.  

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