Last August, at a gas station, I stood with Republican and conservative leaders across the state as we announced our Commitment to Colorado. Democrats and some in the media thought it was a joke that we held the conference at a gas station, where prices had risen exponentially over the course of one short year.
Now, with the 2022 Colorado legislative session fully underway, it seems the Democrats understand the assignment. Gov. Jared Polis is suddenly careening away from a policy he signed just last year: a gas tax on our families. He’s calling for its delay — until after the next election. Convenient.
The House and Senate Democrats have announced their plan is to save people money and to improve public safety. However, they should know better than to copy homework and pretend it’s their own.
The Republican Commitment to Colorado laid out our “Big Three” issues, alongside seven others. We promised to make Colorado affordable again; to prioritize (not just “improve”) public safety; and to expand educational choice for everyone. All parents and all students deserve better options so they can succeed as the unique individuals they are.
For a long time, Republicans have been known in Colorado as people who object, who complain, who tell you what’s wrong with the other guy. But with our Commitment to Colorado, it’s a new day and a new way. We’re offering real answers. Our candidates are true problem solvers.
We will not just tell you the Democrats are wrong. We’ll tell you they’re destroying Colorado with their pro-criminal, higher tax, anti-choice policies. That we are experiencing record inflation and a soaring 25-year high in violent crime. That over 60% of our 3rd-grade students aren’t reading at grade level and over 70% of 4th-, 6th- and 8th-grade students aren’t doing math at grade level.
In 2022, Republicans are going beyond the rhetoric, beyond the words and the facts and the statistics. We’re going straight to the solutions. How can we create a safer Colorado for us all? How can we build a better future for our families?
Our elected officials in the House and Senate unveiled a 44-bill package on the first day of session. These bills lay out real solutions that Colorado families can expect from Republicans – solutions we could deliver if elected to a majority in 2022.
A few ideas found in these bills include:
- Expand the sales-tax exemption for food so it’s more affordable for families to eat.
- Add an income-tax deduction for renters – especially low-income renters, and grant a deduction to property owners who were hurt during COVID.
- Create a grant program for homeowners to make residential space available to renters to solve the housing shortage in Colorado.
- Expand senior and veteran property-tax exemptions.
- Eliminate fines for failing to register a vehicle during COVID when the DMV was slow or shut down.
- Increase medical transparency by allowing hospitals to disclose the “healthcare affordability and sustainability fee” they charge every patient on the receipt.
- Lower the state income tax rate.
- Create the Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program to provide $50 million to local law enforcement agencies for critical-incident training to their officers.
- Get dangerous criminals off the street by prohibiting courts from releasing a person accused of repeat or violent offenses on any unsecured personal recognizance bond.
- Fight rising student loan debt by allowing 529 accounts to be used to pay for student loans.
- Equalize charter funding with other public school funding to ensure equitable funding for all students. The bill is awaiting introduction.
- Pass a resolution that asserts a Parents’ Bill of Rights, valuing a parent’s right to have a say in his or her child’s future. It is awaiting introduction.
- Help teachers pay for school supplies that they purchase with their own money by creating a state income-tax credit for those expenses.
These real-life solutions (and 31 more) can be found here. This year, when Colorado Republicans say we have a plan to create a better future, we mean precisely what we say.
Kristi Burton Brown, of Arapahoe County, is chairwoman of the Colorado State Republican Party.
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