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The winter session of the 74th Colorado General Assembly only began last Wednesday, but by Friday, January 12, the calls for respect, and a cooperative approach forward to pass bipartisan legislation dissolved into a Republican filibuster; brief, but pointed, led by Republican Scott Bottoms (Colorado Springs).

Colorado Democrats huddle with House Speaker Julie McCluskie during a general session. Photo by Timothy Hurst, the Denver Gazette

The focus? Proposed legislation House Bill 24-1084  a tax credit using Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights surplus dollars.

The bill would repeal and re-enact a measure from the November 2023 special session on property taxes.

The measure doubles the Earned Income Tax Credit, to help Colorado homeowners facing major property tax increases this year because of the expiration of the Gallagher Amendment.

Republicans said the bill was an attack on TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights) because it would use excess taxes collected under TABOR to help property owners (including rental properties where tax increases are likely to be passed on to renters).

Recently released data from Colorado Democrats indicates that last session, Republicans – despite their historically small minority, holding only 19 of 65 seats in the House, or 29.2 percent– used Washington, D.C.-style obstruction tactics to take up nearly 60 percent of the legislative discussion time on the floor during the 2023 session.

That adds up to nearly 130 hours — or more than 5 days — of Republicans taking up floor time to obstruct progress.

Bottoms is already suing House Speaker Julie McCluskie and Colorado Governor Jared Polis over the tax relief passed during the special session because he was not allowed to read out loud his lengthy written objection during that session.

Coloradans can only hope that the calls for more civil behavior during this session are heard.