Typo in Colorado Bill Stiffs Museums, Zoo, and Regional Transit of Marijuana Tax Revenue


In a epic failure of administrative effort, Colorado’s Senate Bill 267 (SB 267) inadvertently omitted a number of state agencies from receiving millions in marijuana tax revenue they were expecting. A special session is being considered to remedy the error, which is a rare occurrence in Colorado and only happens every few years, and the last time it happened was in 2012.

The typo in the language was missed in the final weeks of the legislative session, which wrapped up in May. During the final weeks, as with many legislatures, there is a mad flurry of bills, amendments, and votes to try and cram through laws before time runs out. With such mayhem, it’s no huge surprise this happened. Complete Colorado reported:

Complete Colorado obtained an email that was sent Friday to RTD board members and leadership from RTD attorney Rolf Asphaug.

“None of the special districts impacted by the bill, including RTD and SCFD, had been advised of a potential impact or had been asked for a fiscal note,” Asphaug said in the email. “The impact of the state marijuana sales tax exemption created in SB 267 was presumed by the bill sponsors, the Governor’s Office, Legislative Council and all parties that worked on the legislation to have been made whole by a corresponding increase in the rate of special sales tax collected on retail marijuana; however, the above special districts were not included in the bill’s special sales tax increase provisions.”

The 59 page bill was signed on May 30th, before the typo had been noticed and after the session had ended. The error was omitting the words “Special Districts” from the departments that receive the tax revenue, which resulted in them being left out. That will cost the Regional Transit District (RTD) a chunk of change.

“Unfortunately, it looks like this drafting error is going to cost RTD about a half a million dollars a month,” said RTD Spokesman Scott Reed told KBTV 9News. “We’ve already had to go through some budget reductions because our sales taxes are not keeping pace with what our projections were, so this is no small matter.”

The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), which funds a number of major museums, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and other cultural and scientific organizations, stands to lose over $50,000 a month in funding.

The solutions are to call a special session or to convene a smaller group of lawmakers in a rule-making role.  A solution to the problem should be announced in the next days and the rule-making option, if chosen,  could happen in the next few weeks.

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