Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he favors eliminating his state’s income tax during a conservative conference on Friday.
Taxes act as penalties and taxing income discourages people from trying to earn more, Polis argued at the conference hosted by the Steamboat Institute, a conservative think tank. The governor acknowledged that eliminating the income tax is “easier said than done” but that it would result in economic benefits.
“There’s things you actually want to penalize in society, like pollution might be one of them,” the Democratic governor said. “I would argue that smoking might be one of them — cigarette taxes, sin taxes, if there’s an applicable cost to people.” (RELATED: IRS Data Trove Shows How The Super Wealthy Pay Such Little Taxes: Report)
“So if we can move away from taxing income, which is something that you don’t want to discourage, because we want everybody to make income, we want companies to make income, that’s a great thing, to basing it on taxing pollution or carbon or something that we fundamentally don’t want, you’ll have a more pro-growth tax structure that gets the right incentives in place to help grow what you wanna grow and penalize things that are negative externalities,” Polis continued.
In 2020, Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to reduce the state’s income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%. Compared to other states with an income tax, Colorado’s rate is among the lowest, according to the Tax Foundation.
“Governor Polis is focused on meeting people where they are at and building a Colorado for all,” the governor’s spokesperson Conor Cahill said in a statement to Fox-affiliate KDVR. “The Governor has long believed that we should replace revenue needed for critical government service through taxation of things such as pollution instead of taxing hardworking Coloradans’ income.”
However, Democratic lawmakers in Colorado aren’t expected to support an attempt to eliminate the state’s income tax, according to KDVR. Colorado income taxes account for a large slice of the state’s revenue.
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