No special session, Hickenlooper says

It’s taken Gov. John Hickenlooper nine days to announce what most others in the Statehouse already knew. There won’t be a special session.

The day after the 2017 session ended May 11, Hickenlooper said that while he thought it was a productive session, it didn’t do enough when it came to transportation funding or helping to lower the cost of health insurance.

But after thinking for several days about convening a special session to address those issues, the governor said politics were still a factor in addressing them.

“This was a very productive General Assembly, the most productive in my experience that took a lot of big steps,” he said. “But we can always do better. I continue to have real concerns about how we’re going to finance infrastructure, health care, how our energy balance is going to evolve in the immediate future.”

Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, said it’s disingenuous for the governor to even consider calling a special session.

Grantham, who co-sponsored a failed proposed ballot measure calling for raising taxes to pay for road projects, said the governor should be happy with what he got.

“It’s conveniently speaking on both sides of the issue when he can say it was the most productive session he’s ever seen and then criticize the very thing he just praised,” Grantham said. “We knew we were not going to get the entire cake. If we get a slice of it ... I think that’s something to celebrate and not criticize.”

The governor hailed both sides of the political aisle for coming together to take the state’s hospital provider fee out from under the revenue caps of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, freeing up millions of dollars for other programs.

At the same time, the bill calls for issuing up to $1.88 billion in bonds for road projects, far short of the $9 billion in immediate need, he said.

“The political landscape hasn’t shifted,” Hickenlooper said. “We’re going to call on the legislators in the 2018 session to really look at how do we get enough money for transportation.”

Like Grantham, House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, said she agreed that there was no movement among lawmakers to change their minds when it comes to more money for transportation or any of the other issues the governor cited.

She said this year’s session was a productive one, but there are no indictions that it could be improved with a special session.

“If there could be a different outcome, I think it would be time well spent,” she said. “At this point, I’m not sure that’s a possibility.”


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