Denver -- Senate President Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs) today issued the following response to a memo from Colorado’s attorney general on the hospital provider fee question:
“While we certainly respect the attorney general's opinion and will take her analysis into account, our objections to the hospital provider fee maneuver don’t hinge solely on this one question of constitutionality, as important as it is.
Whether or not this would count as an 'enterprise' under law doesn’t address the unprecedented proposal to not 'rebase' the budget, as required by the Colorado Constitution. Neither the AG's opinion nor the opinion drafted by a collaboration of private law firms surmise that an HPF Enterprise could, or should, be treated differently than other state enterprises. The AG's opinion didn't even reference this constitutional issue. The private opinion, however, touched on this issue by asserting, 'It is entirely consistent with TABOR for the Provider Fee enterprise to enjoy the same treatment as CU.'
Enterprising this fee and treating it the same as the University of Colorado, however, was not proposed in last session's legislation. While that scheme cited the Constitution to establish a new enterprise, like CU (requiring the revenues to be set outside of Colorado's state income) unlike the CU enterprise, that legislation tried to maintain those enterprised revenues ($690 million) within the spending base. This is a statutory slight-of-hand not allowed by Colorado's Constitution.”
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