Jan 14, 2022 - News

Colorado's governor wants to cut fees — but the GOP isn't convinced

Gov. Jared Polis speaks on the Capitol steps Monday to preview his legislative agenda. Photo: David Zalubowski/AP

Colorado's governor wants to temporarily suspend millions of dollars in new road fees he signed into law just months earlier.

  • The request made this month would delay a 2-cent fee on each gallon of gas, and extend the timeout on vehicle registration surcharges.

What they're saying: Democratic budget writers expect Gov. Jared Polis' proposal to get broad bipartisan support, but Republicans are crowing about his reversal.

  • "I'm delighted the governor thinks all the bills and fees he put into place over the last few years were wrong," House Republican leader Hugh McKean tells Axios.

The big picture: The cuts are part of a larger package, totaling $102 million in taxpayer savings, that the governor put forward earlier this year and touted in yesterday's State of the State address.

  • The state is currently flush with an extra $5 billion, according to the latest legislative budget forecast, so that money could offset the loss in fee revenue.
  • As a result of the extra money, taxpayers can expect refunds in coming years, unless lawmakers divert the money for other purposes.
  • And it comes as Polis launches his re-election campaign in which he wants to fulfill his promise to save Coloradans money.

By the numbers: How much money the average resident will save under his plan is difficult to calculate.

The governor is asking state lawmakers to:

  • Hold steady the cost to get or renew a driver's license, which would save individuals an estimated $1.54.
  • Eliminate the $49 cost to register a new business.
  • Cut licensing fees for nurses and mental health professionals, at an average savings of $85 and $162, respectively.
  • Reduce fees for the licensure of health care facilities, as well as nursing homes and residential care locations.

"While we are seeing our economy grow stronger, many Coloradans are hurting and need help with costs going up faster than incomes," Polis told reporters ahead of the legislative session.

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