To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, we don’t think bipartisanship means what Colorado Democrats think it means.
For example, we’re reasonably confident that bipartisanship doesn’t mean defeating a school-choice bill, as Senate Democrats did Wednesday, then flinging mud at the Republicans who dared support it.
And anyone who cherishes political harmony as much as Democrats say they do probably wouldn’t issue the following press release: “The contrast is clear: Democratic Senators for K-12 education; Republican Senators for slashing the budgets of public schools.”
To set the record straight, Republican senators aren’t for “slashing the budgets of public schools.” On the contrary, the bill in question, SB 14-033, which offered tax credits for families who choose home school or private school, would have saved the state millions.
As state Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) explained, it costs about $10,000 per year to educate a child in public schools. Providing financial incentives to parents to send their children to private schools or teach them at home would reduce the burden on the cash-strapped public education system.
Lundberg, the bill’s sponsor, cited estimates showing that the measure could save the state more than $500 million by Fiscal Year 2027. That’s something that should have appealed to Democrats, given their support for Amendment 66, the $1 billion tax hike for K-12 education that went down in flames in November.
Of course, everyone knew SB 14-033 had no shot even before Wednesday’s hearing, given that (1) the Colorado Education Association, the state’s biggest teachers’ union, opposed it, and (2) the Democratic leadership assigned the bill to the notorious Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, also known as the “kill committee.”
“I find it curious that I’m speaking to State, Veterans and Military Affairs on this subject,” said an annoyed Lundberg at the hearing.
He asked the committee to send the bill to the Senate Education Committee, a perfectly reasonable suggestion that had zero chance of happening under the current Democratic regime.
Senate President Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) enjoys calling for “bipartisanship,” but she’s already stoked a floor protest from Senate Republicans for sending stacks of GOP-sponsored bills to die in the committee of no return.
Carroll seems to think that when Republicans join Democrats in voting for uncontroversial bills on issues like flood recovery and bridge repair, it shows that Democrats are working across the aisle in a spirit of cooperation and friendship.
On the other hand, when Democrats scuttle Republican bills by defeating them on party-line votes or tossing them to the kill committee, it shows that Republicans are somehow being unreasonable.
That’s not bipartisanship. That’s partisanship. But Carroll and her fellow Democrats don’t seem to know the difference.