Poll: Tax plan for highways supported by 2/3 of voters

A plan to use severance tax revenues to repair Colorado’s transportation system has the support of nearly two-thirds of the state’s registered voters, according to poll results released Friday.

The survey results, released by Denver-based pollster Floyd Ciruli, show Amendment 52 receiving the support of 64 percent of Colorado’s registered voters.

“My sense is the public likes the fact that there’s someone in public office out trying to tackle an obvious problem, and do it without raising taxes,” said state Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction.

Penry, one of the measure’s sponsors, said the poll results are gratifying in light of how hard some politicos
have worked to strike the measure down.

Amendment 52 would divert tax revenues derived from oil and gas drilling to transportation maintenance and improvements. The ballot question would give priority to projects along the Interstate 70 corridor.

According to the nonpartisan Colorado Legislative Council, Amendment 52 could deliver $225 million to roads over the next four years.

That amount, however, could skyrocket if Ciruli’s poll results on Amendment 58, which would raise the state’s effective severance tax rate, is true.

Ciruli’s poll shows 51 percent of registered voters support the measure, which would eliminate a tax credit oil and gas companies receive that substantially lowers the state’s severance tax receipts.

The amendment’s lead, however, is within the poll’s 4.4-percentage-point margin of error.

Nonetheless, the ballot question’s backers said they were pleased with the poll results.

“I think it does show that people don’t think it makes sense to give a $300 million subsidy to the oil and gas industry,” said George Merritt, spokesman for A Smarter Colorado, which is behind Amendment 58.

He declined to comment on the poll results showing that all of those new revenues likely will flow through Penry’s constitutional amendment, whose spending formula would override Amendment 58’s statutory earmarks.

Ciruli’s poll surveyed 501 registered voters between Sept. 19 and Sept. 23.


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