Colorado Gov. Polis breaks with fellow Democrats, proposes eliminating state income tax

Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis appears to have found some rare common ground with fiscal conservatives.

At a recent conference hosted by the conservative Steamboat Institute, the Democrat governor drew applause with his suggestion that the state income tax “should be zero,” according to reports.

“A more pro-growth tax structure”

Nine states currently have no state income tax, according to the Daily Caller, while Colorado’s flat rate of 4.55% is lower after voters approved a ballot initiative last year.

In terms of overall tax burden, the Tax Foundation found that Colorado ranked 35th.

Despite a relatively low state income tax, Polis explained why he believes it is still too high — and should be dropped to zero.

“In effect, when you tax something, you penalize it,” the governor argued, according to The Center Square. “But if we can move away from taxing things like income — which you don’t want to discourage — to something we fundamentally don’t want, then you’ll have a more pro-growth tax structure that gets the right incentives in place.”

A separate statement from his office noted that Polis “has long believed that we should replace revenue needed for critical government service through taxation of things such as pollution instead of taxing hardworking Coloradans’ income.”

“Put forward a real plan”

The governor is out of step with many of his fellow Democrats, meaning the repeal of the state income tax is unlikely in the Democratic-led legislature.

For their part, many Republicans are skeptical and insist Polis has not done enough to curb his party’s tax-and-spend tendencies.

According to The Center Square, Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown issued a statement of her own in which she urged Polis to “put forward a real plan to get rid of the income tax — without replacing it with more ridiculous fees.”

During his recent remarks, the governor pushed back against complaints that fees imposed by his administration, which are not subject to a law requiring voters to weigh in on all tax increases, are effectively increasing the burden on Colorado taxpayers.

As for any legitimate plan to repeal the state income tax, the governor admitted it would be “easier said than done,” adding that “we can find another way to generate the revenue that doesn’t discourage productivity and growth, and you absolutely can, and we should.”

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