(Bumped into Monday because of the importance of this story – promoted by Colorado Pols)
The Denver Post reported yesterday:
The secretary of state on Friday approved two measures for the 2010 ballot that would slash at least $1 billion annually in state taxes and roll back property taxes statewide.
Critics charge that the proposals would destroy services Coloradans rely on, while supporters believe the measures will rein in out-of-control government spending.
“These proposals are reckless and mindless,” House Speaker Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, said Friday.
“I don’t think you can destroy government by cutting a few taxes,” countered former Greenwood Village Mayor Freda Poundstone.
She co-sponsored a fees-and-taxes measure that would slash vehicle registration fees, reduce the state’s income-tax rate and, except for 911 services, eliminate all taxes and fees on cellphones, pagers, landline telephones, cable, satellite and Internet services…
The other measure is aimed at property taxes. Though legal experts say its intent is not entirely clear, it is believed it would, in part, repeal a 2007 mill-levy freeze law that kept property tax rates from falling.
The proposal is so confusing that when it was filed in February, Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, couldn’t resist a jab.
“I’m torn,” he said, at the time. “I love tax cuts, but I have a long-standing policy against run-on sentences and non sequiturs in the constitution.”
We’d invite Sen. Penry to give his cherished Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights the same treatment, though fortunately the Colorado Supreme Court has recently seen fit to do so. Either way it’s worth noting Penry’s skepticism, and the fact that business interests and local governments are downright horrified by the far-reaching damage these initiatives could do–even ardently conservative El Paso County commissioners have voted to oppose them. Colorado Springs Gazette:
Colorado Counties Inc., an organization that represents hundreds of elected officials from around the state, this week voted unanimously to oppose the three initiatives and agreed to contribute up to $10,000 toward an effort that initially would include a review of the signature-gathering processes.
El Paso County Commissioners Amy Lathen, Jim Bensberg and Dennis Hisey, fiscal conservatives and ardent opponents of big government, were among those who voted to fight the three initiatives.
“They’ve thrown too much in the stew,” said Hisey. “They’re asking for too much and taking things too far.”
A significant percentage of the signatures required to get these initiatives on the ballot were reportedly gathered at “Tea Party” and other right-wing political protests that have taken place this year. The Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara is already out in front supporting them. Who will be the first to get Republican candidates up and down the ticket on the record–and what will their answers mean for the Tea Party appeasement strategy the GOP is counting on?