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December 04, 2009 08:17 PM UTC

McNulty Endorses Prison Cuts, FASTER Cuts & Tuition Hikes

  • by: Republican 36

(This is dangerous territory for the GOP. As we noted earlier this week, Republicans are choosing the Tea Party over traditional business supporters like contractors. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Yesterday, at the Colorado Contractors Association (CCA) legislative meeting, Rep. Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) endorsed the Tea Baggers and Mr. McInnis’ call for repealing the FASTER bill which earmarks up to $250 million annually to the Colorado Department of Transportaiton (CDOT) to repair our roads and bridges. Rep. McNulty said he would replace the FASTER funds by diverting $250 million from other general fund programs. Please keep in mind that CDOT does not receive any general fund money except the FASTER funds.

When it came time for questions, CCA members pressed, and pressed Rep. McNulty hard, to specifically identify which general fund programs he would cut to replace the FASTER funds. He was repeatedly asked the question and each time he absolutely refused to answer.…

He refused because there are only two departments of state government where $250 million in general funds can be diverted to replace the FASTER funds – Prisons and Higher Education. It is strange that Rep. McNulty would endorse diverting $250 million from higher education and prisons when he declares on the front page of his website that he will “ensure that our colleges and universities are fully funded and internationally competitive.” Apparently, the 20% tuition hike at CU next year and the corresponding increases of 50% at CSU and other public colleges in Colorado when the Stimulus money runs out doesn’t really matter to Rep. McNulty. On the same website he says we must take on challenges “such as improving our transportation infrastructure” and yet his stand on FASTER will defund higher education thus undermining his stated goal of fully funding our public higher education system and transforming it into an internationally respected system of higher education. There is only one logical conclusion . . . Rep. McNulty supports massive tuition increases even above the percentages noted above.

And yet, if he decides the $250 million should not come from higher education, then he must take it from the Department of Corrections. That can only mean the closing of prisons and the early release of inmates, including some really bad actors, long before their sentences have been served. He needs to answer the question posed several times by CCA members yesterday.

So does Mr. McInnis.

Mr. McInnis and Rep. McNutly can’t say on the one hand they support higher education and then, on the other, defund it to the point where Coloradoans can’t afford to attend our public univeristiies and colleges because of massive tuition hikes caused by their fiscal and budget policies.

Nor can they say on the one hand they are for law and order and long prison terms and then, on the other, call for policies that require the state to make massive cuts in the prison budget which will require the relase of inmates long before their prison sentences are served.

Rep. McNulty and Mr. McInnis represent the Republican Party’s descent into ideology makes good policy. It represents the Party and their refusal to deal with objective facts as they exist. Ideology has the virtue of simplicity but rarely makes successful policy.

Mr. McInnis and Mr. McNulty need to answer the question posed by CCA. Refusing to answer is a fraud upon Colorado voters. During the 1930’s, Winston Churchill pleaded with the British prime ministers to be honest with the voters about the military build-up in Nazi Germany. He told them the British citizens are a robust people who can understand and handle the truth. Mr. Churchill warned them that if they did not tell the public the truth, once the voters were made aware of it there would be significant retribution in the voting booth. The same can be said of the people of the United States and Colorado.

It is time for Mr. McInnis and people like Rep. McNulty to tell the truth.



70 thoughts on “McNulty Endorses Prison Cuts, FASTER Cuts & Tuition Hikes

  1. Much, much less work, no responsibility, and McNulty still gets a scrapbook of media moments.  Their worst fear must be winning an election, all the bullshit they juggle will fall on their heads.

    1. Has very real political consequences for the GOP. The PRIVATE contractors who do work on roads and bridges rely on government money for most of their work. The contractors are going to start migrating from the Republicans to the Democrats if they keep this up.

      1. The tragic flaw of the big government is better crowd.

        Expanding on your flaw, if growing earnings is key to success, then only more reliance on government money is the solution and that means a higher proportion of peoples wealth dedicated to taxes and fees.

              1. They are bought and paid equity members of the Colorado big government chamber and EDC club for corrupt growth.

                Now hobble back to Al Yates for new instructions.

    2. of getting elected droll and having to govern.  They just use the time to launch new culture wars and blame Ritter when things go down the toilet.

      The erosion of business support is probably a bigger threat to the Grand Old Party than scads of gay liberals kissing in public.  At some point the business community is going to wonder where the pragmatic Republican politicians went.

      1. gays in public…”

        a) would include several R’s and U’s. Love knows no party affiliation.

        b) Bring back Tom Norton.  That guy totall understood how to run a transportation dept. Practical. Very R.  Whoops- he would never survive the R onslaught in this environment.

        3) Are you saying only those who can write should blog?


        1.    They don’t do it in public.  Unless you count airport rest rooms.  

            Otherwise gay Repubs are discrete and call male prostitutes to come over with their massage tables and baggies of crystal meth.

            But they won’t kiss in public.

        2. My perspective is that blogging is a community activity and the contributions of everyone creates this performance art that is a mosaic that is bigger than the sum of the parts.

          Occasionally you have to deal with individuals whose personalities rhymes with Turk who are clueless that it is a community and have a self aggrandizement agenda.  Being reasonable doesn’t seem to work with these individuals because like Republicans they don’t care about being part of the community and being civil.

          As a blogger, I tend to make a lot of mistakes with the facts but I don’t consider it a mortal sin.  It gives others opportunities to shine and clarify the point.  I also appreciate good writing that illustrates or illuminates the topic.  It is these constant attempts to belittle and demean for ego purposes that I find offensive.

        1. 36 points out that “buy low/sell high” Republicans have no answers when repeatedly asked how they will balance the budget and you call it a “hit job”.  Maybe you can tell us what their secret plan is tadpole?  Is it like Nixon and Vietnam (“I have a plan but I can’t tell you”).

            1. Don’t you want politicians to explain how they would govern?  If it was a Democrat up there stonewalling on every question wouldn’t you go nuts at the lack of concrete answers?

  2. to higher education doesn’t translate into higher tuition – you cannot raise tuition ENOUGH to make up that kind of cut. It means CLOSING colleges and universities, and I believe very strongly that the list of which institutions to close has already been created. It’s called a “death list” – rumors of it have been circulating the capitol for the better part of the last decade. The state funded higher education in 2009-10 with general fund at about $660 million (before the cuts started). Prisons got $667 million in general fund in 2009-10. You either close prisons or close colleges and universities – the likelihood of the latter is much greater than the former.

    1. but Messrs. McInnis and McNulty have left the question unanswered:  Which colleges or universities do they intend to close or, if they intend to axe the prison budget, how many inmates will they let go?  They need to answer long before the November 2010 election. Right now, they are just telling us to trust them and they will figure it out after the election. This question is far too important to our future to be left unanswered. As mightly as they try to avoid giving the voters an answer, they can’t avoid it.  

      1. Q: Candidate X – now that you have prposed $250+ million in reduced higher ed funding, which campuses do you propose be closed?

        Q: Are you now or have you ever been aware of a “death list” that prioritizes which campuses get to stay open and which get closed?

  3. I don’t like paying higher registration fees under FASTER anymore than some Bagger – I’ve got two vehicles and my income is way down from before the Great Recession. But I don’t want to fuck up my vehicles driving over bad roads, nor do I want some cataclysmic event like a bridge collapsing killing people.

    If the Repubs and the Baggers want to repeal FASTER, then they should have the balls to come out and propose a hike in the gas tax, which hasn’t been increased in I think 20 years. This is the most appropriate way to fund roads and bridges, its a user tax so the people who drive more and use the roads more will pay more proportionately. Gas has been way too cheap in this country for way too long anyway.

    Under TABOR this requires a vote, but so what, let’s have a vote and get it over with. I think the voters (and drivers) are smart enough to figure out what’s up here, especially if they know the money will be earmarked exclusively for road and bridge maintenance (no new construction).

    If you don’t drive or own a car, it won’t cost you anything, but maybe your kid will be able to go to a community college and get an education so they don’t have to flip hamburgers or work the night shift at Wal Mart the rest of their lives.

    And if the Repubs won’t bite the bullet for an increase in the gas tax, then the Dems should do it.  

    1. Driving a Prius does the same damage to the road as any other car in its class, but uses much less gas.  So I would pay slightly more in taxes driving my Yaris, but the Prius is heavier and does more damage.

      1. I hear that one a lot, and while it is technically true, why would it be so awful to provide a strong incentive to switch to more fuel efficient vehicles?

        1. they use less of that expensive gas.  But again, they do the same amount of damage to the road.  Eventually there has to be a better plan to tax, unless you’re thinking hover cars.  Even if my car runs on water, it’s still damaging the road and driving over weak bridges.

          1. Because you not only have the switch from similar size gas to similar size hybrid/electric, but also there is the incentive to downsize big gas to smaller gas, and old gas to new gas.

            Admittedly it is social engineering built into the tax policy, but what’s new about that?

            And, the idea would be extra savings on top of the existing  benefits of going to a more fuel efficient vehicle. Why so much incentive? Because of the multiple benefits to the state of reducing fuel consumption.  

          2. Instead of an increased tax at the pump, there was a formula that factored in mileage driven, weight of the vehicle, average gas used based on fuel economy and mileage, that was paid at vehicle registration time.

            That might make FASTER a little more fair, and address the road deterioration distribution issue you brought up as well.

            1. You just don’t have the balls to ask the people to jack up the gas tax.  You’re still stuck on FASTER and Singles Sale Factor Taxes hikes because some eco development clown told you they’d work [for him purpose].

              The problem is he don’t have a payroll to meet or choice to locate his business.  He’s sucking the government tit for funding and trying to show he’s a value add.  Remember 1st Data and Republic… oh say where are these eco dev leaders post 1st DATA and Republic?

              If the voters want all the great public services you’re selling they’ll jump right on board a gas tax hike.  Public opinion can work for you, but you need to be honest.

              Grow some balls and but it on the ballot.  Challenge the Dems, GOP, Tea Party crowds to join you.

              Use TABOR as a tool to lead this state, not as a crutch because you are too afraid to fail.

            2. Problem then would be the big dollars at registration.  Paying at the pump as you go is kinds like income tax withholding–much more palatable in small bites to the consumer, much better likelihood of collection by the gov’ment.

              The solution I hear circulated is where each vehicle has a tracking device to calculate miles driven and then calculate the amount due based on the vehicle weight. Requires investment in technology to track vehicles, bill, and collect.  Plus, a little too Orwellian for my tastes.

              I still think the collect at the pump is the best balance between equity, simplicity, and efficiency of collection; but will eventually have to address alternative fuel vehicles.  But for now, alternative fuels use is really small, and I think we should throw it every incentive we can.

              1. That’s where a lot of the criticism from FASTER is coming from, but I think that it might work out that most people would pay less than they do now. Especially people with fuel efficient, smaller cars. But I see what you’re saying.

                The civil libertarian in me says that on-board mileage meters are a horrible idea, but if they were done correctly, it might be a good plan.

                1. I figure the gov’t has been tracking my movements since I got the mutli vaccine thing when I was a kid. Or when I got my silver fillings. Or whenever they wanted.

                  And the poor AFGE grunt who is tasked with following me must be bored out of his brain.

                2. The technology is already here to do something like that (that’s what GM’s Onstar service is about), but to me its a little creepy. And I’m not a very smart guy, so I like to keep things simple.

                  As a libertarian with a small l, it’s too intrusive for me. Knowing that the government knows where I’m at in my vehicle and tracking my mileage from a satellite 22,000 up in space makes me a little nervous.  

                3. The technology is already here to do something like that (that’s what GM’s Onstar service is about), but to me its a little creepy. And I’m not a very smart guy, so I like to keep things simple.

                  As a libertarian with a small l, it’s too intrusive for me. Knowing that the government knows where I’m at in my vehicle and tracking my mileage from a satellite 22,000 up in space makes me a little nervous.  

            3. A direct question with no answer from me.  I was torn away, not by choice!

              Since I have to renew my tags in a month, I suddenly think that’s a super dumb idea.

              OK, no.  I do think it’s a good idea.  The tracking thing is creepy, but getting a mileage certificate isn’t such a big deal.  So I’d do that, at a reasonable kind of rate, double the gas tax, and add a solid 1% to the sales tax rate.  

              Maybe 2%.  As Cooper so hysterically brought up, this is a big deal.  Something drastic does have to happen and getting people off the roads doesn’t help our current problem.  Everything you buy though has to get to the store somehow.  In a good year, .1% extra sales tax brings in something like 92 million dollars.  I had a nice Ritter Blue Ribbon thingy, but it broke on me.

              A bigger point here (for me anyway) is that you really can’t tie this problem and the environment together.  Even if everyone magically stopped driving any recreational miles today, the roads are still crumbling.  Regardless of how nice that be nice for our brown cloud.  And that’s why I’ll never ever be OK with a poorly maintained eco car from the 80’s paying the same toward road damage as a hybrid SUV.

      2. Right now the hybrid fleet is miniscle compared to total vehicle miles. So worrying about high mileage vehicles not paying enough in terms of lost tax revenue is a non issue.

        Of course, down the road (no pun intended) in a few years as we move to a more fuel efficient fleet and more alternatives, like plug-ins and hydrogen , a different revenue structure will have to be developed. But for now and the intermediate future, its of little concern.

        What is of a very immediate concern is that this state is BROKE, right here, right now.

        What is of a very immediate concern is our roads and bridges need maintained for public safety.

        What is of a very immediate concern is our system of higher education may disappear.

        And when that happens, how are we as a nation going to compete in the 21st century world economy with an uneducated workforce?  

    2. No, it’s a regressive tax that hurts low income folks far more that anyone else.  We could have solved a portion of our problems if voters had a clue and the Gov’s people did a better job getting Amendment 58 passed and eliminated the severance tax credit that energy companies enjoy so much.

      Hurting working families even more isn’t the answer.   Making industries and individuals pay their fair share is though.

      1. But there are a lot of low income people who don’t own a car, don’t drive, they use public transportation. So it doesn’t affect them.

        ( I don’t really know if RTD pays a state fuel tax now, but they and other public transit should be exempt from any increase).

        For the low income that do drive, they could get a credit on their state income taxes. Could be something as simple that if they have a vehicle registered in their name, and they are below a certain income level, then they are eligible for a state credit.  That could be written into the ballot proposals.

        At any rate, the FASTER fees are regressive because there is no tax credit for low income on them.  

        I wanted 58 passed, but it wasn’t, so here we are.  

      2. To be fair, A-58 wouldn’t have gone to fixing the roads. The vast majority would have gone to college scholarships for in-state kids (basically an expanded Colorado Opportunity Fund.)

        There was some argument that the money wouldn’t have necessarily gone there, and that the language of the amendment was such that it would have been easy for the GA to try to re-route the funds somewhere else.

        But your larger point that a $300 million dollar increase in revenue would have been a good thing, and the Governor’s team screwed it up, is spot on.

    3. They way I understand we did retail gasoline taxes as a %, but we could keep the percentage stable as prices go up.

      But put it on the ballot- and carve out a fund separate fromt he General Fund just for roads.  And then only fund roads projects form FASTER and fuel taxes (and the occasional federal grants)

      So the Blue book is ez- it shows the CDOT budget, divided by the (number of gallons sold and vehicles registered)

      I’d vote for it  -and then get rid of one of my cars.

      1. My daily driver is a PU, need it for my business.

        I’ve got a Miata, garage it 6 months in the winter, I put less than 3000 mi a year on it. If I’m not driving it, I’m not putting gas in it, and I’m not paying a gas tax. But it’s not on the road either.

        With FASTER, I’m paying the same increase in registration fees as someone driving 25,000 mi (or more) a year. And faster is a regressive tax that hits low income. Gas tax could be done with a low income state tax credit.

        This road funding crisis is resulting from the Legislature doing NOTHING about the problem in the 2008 session. Because of that it became an acute crisis in the 2009 session, and what we got was FASTER when we should have had an increase in the gas tax.

        It’s not rocket science. It’s piss poor government.

        1. Yikes.

          A new R slogan.

          We couldn’t cut taxes, nor budget our way out of a paper bag* but we could force the D”s into a bad idea.  It’s not rocket science. It’s piss poor government.

          *Except for Marostica and one or two others- and we had to cleanse them.

          1. FASTER was mostly Ritter’s deal as I understood it. I guess politics is the art of the possible, and because it was a crisis, FASTER became the only thing possible. But that doesn’t make it right. So the Dems handed the Repubs and the Baggers an issue and they’re running with it.

            Of course they don’t have any alternative, which is the point of this whole thread. But not to matter, I guess they think the voters won’t catch on to that.

            All I can say is this is going to be a wild session.  

  4. “I don’t want to have a conversation about what we cut”  

    Of course its their game plan to avoid answering that question at all costs, because there is no good answer.  We can’t cut close to $250 million by making government more efficient, which is always their first idea.

      1. the occasion to see Frank McNulty in action on numerous occasions. It is an underwhelming experience. I have never been impressed with his ability to recognize and utilize actual facts. Nothing new here.

  5. A true patriot. It’s time for people to PAY for what they value, not expect it to be GIVEN to them. And if they can’t afford it they must not want it bad enough.

    Risk of failure motivates go-getters to perform. Demoncrats seek the abolition of risk, so everybody has a nice cushy fat country to drool on and nobody feels bad.

    I don’t feel bad when I see a bum, because he motivates me to work harder so I don’t become like him. That’s America.

    1. If you can’t afford it, you don’t want it bad enough.

      So pony up some gas tax or registration fees to pay for the roads you drive on.

      Because if you can’t afford them, you don’t want them bad enough.

    2. the eveil D’s in the Bush administration that created this “too big to fail” bail out mantra and all those evil D”s running the street who want privatized gain and socialized losses.

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