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September 27, 2009 05:31 PM UTC

Worst Ballot Initiatives Ever Coming in 2010?

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Denver Post reports:

A trio of initiative petitions being circulated in Colorado would slash at least $1 billion annually in state taxes, roll back property taxes statewide and dramatically limit government’s ability to construct new buildings.

The three initiatives, besides having similar themes of limiting government, also share what appear to be common connections to former state Rep. Doug las Bruce, R-Colorado Springs, the father of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in the state constitution…

Bruce, who made headlines recently after being cleared on a trespassing ticket issued when he was circulating petitions outside a Colorado Springs Costco, refused to speak to The Denver Post.

“I don’t want to talk to you. Goodbye,” he said when reached by telephone on Friday.

Initiative 10 would, over four years, slash vehicle registration fees, which lawmakers raised this year, to just $2 for new vehicles and $1 for older ones. It would reduce the state’s income tax from its current 4.63 percent to 4.5 percent by 2011, decreasing annually to a low of 3.5 percent. And it would eliminate all taxes and fees on cellphones, pagers, landline telephones, cable, satellite and Internet services, except for current 911 fees…

Initiative 12, meanwhile, is aimed at property taxes. Though legal experts say its intent is not entirely clear, it is believed it would “re-Bruce” local school districts whose voters opted out of TABOR limits, and repeal a 2007 mill-levy freeze law that kept property tax rates from falling.

Finally, Initiative 21 would prevent governments from using certificates of participation. These financial instruments essentially are leaseback arrangements where the state can buy back the buildings it constructs over years of payments.

Apparently Doug Bruce and his friend, lobbyist-turned-crackpot Freda Poundstone, have decided that “starving the beast” takes too long–let’s just shoot it instead. Slash taxes that already can’t keep pace with basic needs? “Re-Bruce” school districts that already “de-Bruced” through a vote of the people? Strip away one of the only tools Treasurer Cary Kennedy has left to keep capital construction projects going? Like some diabolical comic book villain, whatever will do the most damage appears to have been the goal. And they’re evidently serious about getting these on the 2010 ballot–have you already been hit up at your local supermarket?

It’s very simple, really: pass these initiatives, and Colorado is a failed state. It’s our opinion that no responsible elected official, Republican or Democrat, would be able to conscionably support anything so inherently destructive, even if they do manage to resonate with the fringier parts of the conservative base–so it will be interesting to see if any decide to.


36 thoughts on “Worst Ballot Initiatives Ever Coming in 2010?

    1. But what would you replace these taxes and fees with?  Cutting taxes is easy and popular, the problem is the cutting of the spending or the raising of other taxes and fees to cover them.

      Perhaps that should have been in the constitution along with the spending limits.  A bit saying you cannot cut taxes if there are still debts to be paid or something of that nature.

      1. GV is never de-bruced property taxes in the first place. The Governor’s mill levy fix last year didn’t change anything there.

        Why do this state wide anyway- let individual property tax districts decide what they want for themselves. They don’t need Denver telling them what to do.

          1. instead of patch on another weird statewide rule that even in a best case won’t  improve things and in a worst case give us all manner of “unintended” consequence.

  1. initiative and you have a time worn recipe for getting out the Republican base.

    Why is it conventional wisdom that feeding the Republican base is critical to electoral success for Republicans but the only way a Democratic candidate can win is to crap on their base?

    Killing government while giving government control over womens health care is a tried and true formula for Republican success.  They failed big time with the perky co-ed as the personhood figurehead so this year it is probably going to be back to bloody babies.  Tis truly the beauty of citizen democracy in action.

    1. Last year’s was creamed! I don’t see how it could be anything but good for Ds (in terms of turnout. Of course, the existence of the eggmendment is traumatic for all thinking human beings but when it comes to turnout, it brings out people who say “what huh?? uhmm… how about NO.”)

      1. I did mention that I was spouting conventional wisdom so the fact the last years eggmendment went down by a three to one margin is considered a mere aberration.  If the Republican base wants an eggmendment every election then by golly they can have one.  Add an anti-Mexicans amendment under the banner of illegal immigration and you have the trifecta of Republican issues (destroy our government, enslave women and get rid of the non-whites).

        You could argue that the Republicans went to the same playbook once too often in 2006 and 2008 but because they are anti-science and don’t understand the correlation of cause and effect, they will continue to believe that this is a center-right nation and their proven formula for success (fear) will work again.  We’ll see.

        1. or they’re determining the outer limits of crazy and will settle on initiatives to rally the base without totally alienating independents. But they’re not there yet.

    2. Why is it conventional wisdom that feeding the Republican base is critical to electoral success for Republicans but the only way a Democratic candidate can win is to crap on their base?

      Reading this in context of David’s diary on Ritter and obligations, I wonder if things haven’t flipped.  Stick with me here.

      During the Republican ascendancy late 70s to late 90s, the Party moved to the center on social issues (this is NOT Ronald Reagan’s party today) in order to broaden it’s appeal on economic issues.  The times (namely a desire to live like the 50s and 60s without worrying how to pay for it) brought large numbers to the economic message, and the social message got bumped to the back-bench.  The “moral majority” was still there, but it was told to go back to being silent so Republicans could govern.    

      That said, those values voters were still needed if Republicans were to win elections.  So, Repubs would rally their base with  a social conservative message every so often to make sure they continued to turn out.  They did.  Republicans won, but then in the opinion of many social conservatives, their issues got ignored.  When Republicans win, these “values voters” have every reason to feel used.  When they lose, they have every reason to question the moderate strategy.  

      That’s what they’re doing, now.  Some values voters have defected from the Republican flock, embracing environmental stewardship and community service as opposed to moral legislation. Others remain who want “their” country back.  They’re not “rallying the base,” now they’re attempting to assert that the whole “rally/use the base to win” approach was wrong all along.  That’s why things have gotten so radical on the Republican side.  Dems went through the same thing, more or less, from 68-72.  It’s a good strategy for rebuilding the party, it’s a lousy strategy to actually govern.

      Switch over to the Dems today, and you’ll see that Dem leadership is running the old Republican playbook.  This is, in part, because the country has swung, feeling a little guilty for the indulgences of the 80s, 90s, and this decade.  Despite shrieks of “socialism” from the far right, Dems won the 2008 election largely on a message of getting our economic house back in order, and that was a moderate message, not a progressive message.  As a result, we have very similar complaints from the far left, and a very similar response from the party leadership.  Why don’t we steamroll health care through Congress?  Why don’t we impeach Cheney?  Why don’t we just pull out of Afghanistan altogether?  Fair complaints from the left, but unfair to feel as though we’re being crapped on.  It’s not “crapping” on the base, it’s governing.  

      Part of governing is also about getting re-elected, too, and while I doubt that we’ll see a C&D style referendum on the Colorado ballot in 2010, or any of the above issues trumpeted nationally, you can be sure that Ritter and Obama will “rally the base” next spring with something that excites liberals, without actually having a chance of getting accomplished even if we win MORE seats in the State House or Congress. Romanoff’s campaign is doing some of that now, and it is good for the base, but as many on this site have opined, once elected, he won’t govern much differently than Bennet.

      So, if you’re feeling crapped on, isn’t that just the price we pay to govern?  Honestly, I doubt the Republicans are enjoying the “ideological purity” of their minority any more than we did the previous 8 years under Bush.  Dissatisfied liberals would do well to remember that the Republicans will tone it down as soon as they see a real chance to govern again, and they’ll have that chance, soon, if we don’t address the economic issues that put Dems in office in 2006, and 2008.

      1. There is merit in your points.

        What I think I was playing around with was the idea that Republicans like their base and try to accomplish what their base wants while Democrats try to pretend that they don’t need their base.  It is conventional wisdom that far left organizations like should be ignored if Democrats have any chance of winning.  The media makes a big deal about whether or not the Republican base is being satisfied but ignores or downplays any attempts to report on the state of the Democratic base except to give frequent updates on it being in disarray.

        The ongoing tension between “realists” and “idealists” isn’t necessarily bad.  What’s the point of winning elections if you have no plan on how to govern or bring about change?  The Democratic Party needs theoreticians and ideologues as much as it needs pragmatists.  The disarray that the media loves to report could also be interpreted as honest debate on how to govern effectively and benefit the most.  I would like to see the professional Democratic politicians not run away from their base or their fundamental principles.

  2. Taken collectively, these three initiatives, if passed, will devastate education on Colorado. If these initiatives make it to the ballot, Doug Bruce has just handed the 2010 elections to the Democrats.

    1. Every Republican running for office will be asked about this. Every one in an R primary will either suck up (to the crazy base) or sack up. Conventional wisdom is that the former wins the primary, the latter wins the general.

  3. turnout might have been frighteningly low, but if these pieces of shit are on the ballot then Dems will turn out in droves to make sure they never see the light of day.

      1. When I read the ballot initiatives I almost shook in horror at the hubris.

        The goal is nothing less than the destruction of civil society.

        I do not want to take a chance that a well funded campaign could trick voters in to voting for anarchy.

        I love motorcycles and Mohawks, but I don’t want to live in a Mel Gibson movie.

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