Much has been written about the Colorado Democrats' proposal to remove a hospital fee from TABOR restrictions, freeing up about $370 million for highways, schools, and other government projects that lack funding.
But one question that hasn't been explained fully is, why the near-unanimous opposition by Republican state lawmakers to the proposal? Unanimity that may be cracking, but still.
The question flashed out from a recent Colorado Independent article, in which a spokesman for conservative Americans for Prosperity, backed by the Koch brothers, emphasized that last year 307 lobbyists were on one side of the debate over the hospital provider fee, and only a single lonely group was on the other. That would be AFP.
How did AFP pull this off, particularly when the business community, normally home base for the GOP, favors the hospital fee and is aligned against Republicans on this issue?
You wouldn't expect all Republican legislators to jump in the laps of business groups, given the issues at play and AFP, but this level of separation from establishment business interests?
The business support has been chronicled best bythe Denver Business Journal's Ed Sealover, who wrote one article listing business organizations that signed a letter in support of the Democrats' plan for the hospital provider fee. The organizations:
Associated General Contractors
Aurora Chamber of Commerce
Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry
Association of Colorado Realtors
Colorado Competitive Council
Colorado Contractors Association
Colorado Springs Forward
Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance
Colorado Wheat Growers Association
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
South Metro Chamber of Commerce
That's a bunch of power there--with deeeeeep ties to Republicans. You'd think they'd have been able to convince more GOP legislators. How did AFP manage to pull this off?