Colorado voters aren’t in the mood to raise the state sales tax to pay for transportation solutions, a new poll indicates.
Just 35 percent of likely voters said they would support Proposition 110, billed by supporters as “Let’s Go, Colorado,” to hike the sales tax by 0.62 cents for state, local and alternative transportation projects, according to the poll by Louisville, Colorado-based Magellan Strategies.
A counter proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot, Proposition 109, touted as “Fix Our Damn Roads,” was more popular, with 52 percent support, the survey indicated. It would order the state legislature to borrow $3.5 billion and repay it over 20 years with money already in the state budget. All the money would go to roads and bridges.
Opponents of 109, primarily Democrats, argue that paying back those bonds without new revenue would rob the state of money for schools and social services when the economy cools off. Last session, lawmakers had more than $1 billion in revenue it had not projected, because of the booming state economy and federal tax cuts.
“It’s clear that Coloradans prefer specific highway projects without a tax increase to a 21 percent tax increase for mystery projects,” said Jon Caldara, president of the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute in Denver, which is backing 109.
“Voters want the state to use some of its massive surplus to fix our damn roads,” he said. “Let’s Go, Colorado’s ridiculous tax increase already got up and went.”
Let’s Go, Colorado provided a statement about the poll:
“We’re happy to trust the voters to understand that Prop 110 is the only viable solution on the ballot to provide a strong, sustainable, statewide transportation funding solution. We are concerned that the sample in this poll appears to be skewed toward voters who would be more inclined to support the competing ballot measure. It certainly doesn’t match the consistent levels of support that have been in place in more than two years of polling.”
The poll was commissioned by the Fix Our Damn Roads issue committee with the business coalition Colorado Concern, which has endorsed Caldara’s measure. The organization is neutral on the Let’s Go, Colorado proposal.
The poll was conducted Oct. 8-10 using land lines and cell phone numbers reaching 500 respondents statewide. It carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percent.
Of those polled, 35 percent said they were a Republican, 33 percent identified as Democrats and 32 percent said they were unaffiliated.