Observers say Senate Republicans will not support Governor Hickenlooper’s proposal to make the Hospital Provider Fee (HPF) an enterprise fund so that the HPF doesn’t count against the TABOR cap. The GOP is trying to pander to its most conservative members, who oppose anything that they say sidesteps TABOR. This is unfortunate because the HPF generates about $750 million a year, forcing Colorado to issue refunds at the same time the State faces a budget deficit.
If the HPF had become an enterprise fund it would have made more money available for transportation and education. The Fix North I-25 Coalition is struggling to get a General Fund commitment — approximately $200 million — to secure its TRANS bonding proposal, which is expected t be introduced by the end of February. Given the current budget projections, the GOP’s successful move to block the HPF makes the quest to find General Fund money challenging although most legislators have supported the use of General Fund dollars for transportation. If the Coalition cannot find the $200 million to secure the bonds, CDOT will oppose the legislation.