“Dr. Evil” Initiatives Head For 2010 Ballot With “Tea Party” Support

(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?


72 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. redstateblues says:

    El Paso County Commissioners are the DEVIL!!!

    Now, can we get back to completely amputating the state budget? Thank YOU.

  2. Kiltartan Cross says:

    Using divisive initiatives to drive out midterm turnout is a tried and true Republican tactics. But all this stuff is going to do is confuse the hell out of conservatives and lead to lots of public red-on-red fights. This kind of politics helped Bill Ritter get a lot of GOP support in 2006. I expect it will do so again.  

  3. allyncooper says:

    Just the latest example of the GOP shooting themselves in the foot, perhaps both feet this time.

    Like an addict struggling to recover, they temporarily achieved a modicum of serenity and ended their self destruction when Penry dropped out, now only to relapse in a downward spiral of mindless addiction and denial.  

  4. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    If they lead to the state having a discussion about what the proper role of the state is here. I would guess even many of the tea partiers will pull back from this if they realize the actual effect on the economy.

    • redstateblues says:

      Right, just like they’ve pulled back from the TABOR debate after seeing the horrible things it’s wrought.

      They think these types of things help the state greatly David. It’s the basis of their entire political ideology.

      • Steve Harvey says:

        Assuming that a movement of robust irrationality will suddenly yield to reason is itself unreasonable. A quick survey of world history and of current events globally makes clear that there is no limit to how irrational and self-destructive human beings are capable of being. These ballot initiatives are not a chat over tea: They are real, and dangerous, and could conveivably pass.

        David is right about the discussion that needs to take place, but there’s no reason to believe that these initiatives are any more capable of catalyzing such a discussion than all of the abundant reasons that have already long been in place.

      • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

        I have attended candidate forums in Mesa County where one of the hottest topics was

        social Darwinism. Never underestimate the stupidity of human beings…never.

        Trying to apply their thinking to a matrix of reason and accountability is a tiresome and futile task. Not worth the effort.

        There are some reasonable Republicans. Very few reasonable baggers.

  5. caroman says:

    but it’s just not in the cards, now is it?”

    Austin Powers

  6. One Queer Dude says:

       It may be the train wreck we’ve been waiting for.

      IIRC, there is a Republican lawyer whose name escapes me who has filed a declaratory judgment action seeking to have TABOR declared unconstitutional under the section of the U.S. Constitution which guarantees each state a republican (that’s with a lower case “r”) form of government.

      Exhibits A, B, and C are TABOR, Amendment 23, and this latest brain fart of an idea which the Teabaggers have come up with.

  7. Ray SpringfieldRay Springfield says:

    until the state is bankrupt, we have no public education, we have private prisons working in manufacturing jobs, and they can invest in the publicly trded labor camps.

  8. Ellie says:

    If you lump conservative Republican’s in with the tea party crowd and 9-12 groups it would be as wrong headed as these ballot measures.

    It would be much more productive of your time and mine to make it more difficult for special interest groups like Common Cause (Polis anyone?) and Independence Institute to place their latest scheme on the ballot.  

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      McInnis is pandering to them. Penry keynoted a number of their events. Many of our elected Republican legislators sing their praises.

      McInnis can pull a Goldwater/Buckley and publicly separate from them. But if he doesn’t, then it’s reasonable for everyone to assume he’s a fellow traveller at a minimum.

      • Ellie says:

        Most of you say you want a discussion of the issues. That’s not true. I tried but you want to bash a candidate I support or put everyone in the Republican party in a neat little box like all of you Democrats.  Oh I forgot, you can’t seem to agree on health care, global warming or which candidate you support for the US Senate.  But that’s different isn’t it?

        I’m not running for office so I don’t have a base.  I do have a number of friends – Democrat, Republican and Unaffiliated that enjoy a good discussion over coffee, lunch or dinner. I dare say all of us will be asking individual candidates their position on any number of issues.  

        • One Queer Dude says:

             You people are putting yourself in a neat little box.  This one doesn’t fit in (Arlen Specter), throw him out.  This one doesn’t fit in (Dede Scozzafava), throw her out.  This one doesn’t fit in (Lincoln Chaffee), throw him out.

            Closer to home, you’ve got people like Don Marostica, Norma Anderson, Ramey Johnson, Kiki Traylor, and Bill Kaufman.  I’m waiting for when Al White and Ken Kester no longer fit in your neat little box.

          • Middle of the Road says:

            The Family Research Council met to discuss running a conservative candidate against her to pick her off in a primary next year.

            If you are a moderate and you are still in the Republican Party, you are an endangered species these days.

            • One Queer Dude says:

                 Good….I hope they do.  I also hope that the Democratic Governor of Maine invites her to follow Arlen Specter and change parties as soon as possible.

                Then all we have to do is offer Susan Collins the chair of the Homeland Security Committee (which will become vacant when Lieberman is sent over to the GOP) if she joins Snowe in crossing the aisle.

                The Dems then end up with 61 seats.

          • Ellie says:

            You have exceedingly little knowledge of who I am or who my friends happen to be.  It’s funny – you mention several people I happen to consider political friends. We have worked together in past campaigns and I suspect will do so again soon.

            You along with many others on CoPols are as narrow minded as you accuse the far right of being.  It’s sad.

            • Ralphie says:

              We regard it as a recent characteristic of the party whose candidates you support.

              You can’t fix it–the party can’t help itself.  Either way, the Republicans have some serious work to do to regain their credibility.

              • BlueCat says:

                that is putting itself in a box by demanding toe the line conformity.  The likes of Olympia Snowe are an endangered species and even she dares not defy the far right leadership when her vote could actually make a difference. Dems have nothing to do with that.  Your party has chosen the purity box all on its own.  

        • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

          I’ve talked to Republican candidate after Republican candidate, spending an hour mostly listening and then 2 – 3 hours writing it up. And I’ve yet to have any complain that I’ve treated them unfairly. I do that so I can get their side on the issues out on the blogosphere. Not my opinion of their view – but their view.

          I’m happy to discuss this issue with you. Why should we not assume McInnis is a fellow traveller with the teabaggers based on his statements with Penry and after the Fox News episode?

          ps – I’ve asked McInnis’ team repeatedly for an interview as I would love to get this straight from him. So I’m trying to get his side out – but it takes two to have a conversation.

  9. OneEyedOwl says:

    if Scott McInnis supports these measures.  

  10. Leonard Smalls says:

    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.

    Don’t forget pestering people at light rail stops.

    • redstateblues says:

      And the 16th St. mall, and practically everywhere there are large groups of people. Those guys make pretty good money too. I think one of them told me he made $3 per signature.

      • sxp151 says:

        if you stop people on the street and tell them you’re just asking them to sign something (not asking for money), many people will be happy to stop for 30 seconds and sign it. In that time you can tell them it means whatever you want, because very few of them will read the jumbled confusing text in that short time. They get a lot of signatures for this kind of crap on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder that way.

        • PERA hopeful says:

          Stopped me on the Pearl Street Mall and gave me some song and dance about baby bears being orphaned when their mothers were gunned down.  Tugged at my heartstrings.

          Back then, I had some harebrained notion that I should sign every petition to put something on the ballot and let the people decide.  I kept that harebrained notion until TABOR.  Now, whenever someone asks me to sign a petition, I read the whole thing and argue with the circulator.  I don’t expect the circulator to care about the content of the petition, but maybe some other person will walk away without signing some of the more egregious piece of crap petitions.

  11. Worth noting that the good Senator Penry abstained from voting against the Democratic Party’s invasion of Pinnacol funds – even Senator Gibbs voted against that measure, despite his high stature in the Democratic Party

    if the summary above is accurate, then I’m planning to sign the petitions and help get these initiatives on the ballot – we need to cut spending and bring all new spending requests to the ballot for a statewide vote

    lastly, I’ve reviewed the reports on ‘broken’ roads and bridges and I believe the reports are highly exaggerated – the movement above is a REAL fiscal conservative movement, unlike the Prosperity For Colorado (whatever it’s called) which is fiscal liberal and draconian in it’s measures, guaranteeing shadow tax increases and government growth

    peace and love all!  

    • Steve Harvey says:

      what the vast majority of practicing economists recognize to be insanity? Issue after issue of The Economist magazine, the great champion of free markets, rolls its eyes at the notion that this type of fiscal fanaticism makes any economic sense. The 2008 Nobel Prize winner in Economics (Paul Krugman) wrote a book a year ago about (among other things) the folly of extreme fiscal conservativism. One of the 2009 Nobel Prize winners in Economics (Oliver Williamson) made his name by pioneering the insitutional economic analysis of the utility of systemic hierarchical interventions (eg, governments) to maximize economic efficiency. Why adhere to an ideology that is disproven by history, disfavored by those who study the subject at hand, and clearly as ill-timed as administering a Medieval bleeding to a patient dying of blood loss?

      Cone on, Man! Let’s give reason a chance….

      • Steve – I believe those are the same economists who supported TARP – last I checked, I’m a fiscal conservative not a fiscal liberal

        Honestly – it’s not hard to put this stuff on a statewide ballot and ask permission  

        • Steve Harvey says:

          the fiscal policies that, to the best of our understanding (given the projections of a year ago), averted a slide into a major depression. Terrible fools, those.

          Why should you, or I, be anything other than reasonable people of good will, applying the best analyses available to the most reliable facts available in pursuit of the policies most conducive to human welfare? Being anything else just gets in the way.

        • Steve Harvey says:

          that would only be effective if there were no need to mobilize any expertise, any economic analysis of data, in order to arrive at the policies which best serve the public interest. I don’t want to the man-on-the-street to call in my open-heart surgery, and I don’t want him to design fiscal policy, for exactly the same reason.

          • Steve – I deeply respect your opinions and well thought out arguments

            Nonetheless – I’m big on principles – TARP and tax increases (without statewide approval) go against my principles, no matter what the economists or their projections say – some say I’m an idealogue and I am – I don’t think that’s a bad thing

            lastly – TARP was a catastrophic failure – it did nothing to remove the bad management that created the seeds of the bailout to begin with, in addition to increasing inflation to disastrous levels – our economy would have been much better without it  

            • Steve Harvey says:

              I respect your good will as well. We’ll have to save for another day (and, in fact, another year) a debate over whether strict adherence to “principles” in defiance of reason and evidence is really a principled position to hold….

              For now, I have to try to focus on an intensive week of law school finals, and then it’s off to Mazatlan for some much needed R&R.

              If I don’t “see” you before the end of the year, happy holidays to you.

              • Representative Jim Kerr is a good friend of mine as he helped me campaign in Summit during my run for HD56 – nonetheless, every good Republican needs good competition – get plenty of r&r – you’re in for a very eventfull and exciting 2010 my friend

                As far as principles go – I’ve just learned, especially after HD56, that principles are something to never be thrown away – that said, pick your principles ever so carefully

              • ClubTwitty says:

                12/22-28 or so  

                • Steve Harvey says:

                  for two and a half years, my wife is from there, and we visit every Christmas. Email me at steve.harvey.hd28@gmail.com if you want some tips on things to do while you’re there (definitely hike up the light house hill, have a meal at Copa de Leche at the Olas Altas beach at the tip of the peninsula, take one of the boat trips that includes a lunch at Stone Island, walk around the historic city center, and DON’T spend all of your time at the hotel beach in the Zona Dorada!). Let me know if you want to get together for lunch while you’re there, or a beer at my favorite palapa on North Beach. It’s on me.

                  • Steve Harvey says:

                    and buy a kilo of fresh shrimp from the shrimpers’ wives who sell the morning’s catch out of buckets of ice water on Zaragoza street! All you need is a place to boil them up!

                    • ClubTwitty says:

                      And ate in a great little taco shop nearby, all locals and packed with very cheap food and beers.

                      Since we will have a kitchen this time we will have to do that.

                  • ClubTwitty says:

                    We stayed at La Siesta, had breakfast at Copa de Leche (and a dinner too), visited Isla de la Piedra, visited the Zona Dorado only once, and spent nearly all our time in Old Town.  

                    This time we got set up with a fat condo at Playa Cerritos through an acquaintance, but plan on being in Old Town mostly.  That’s the vibe we like–not Zona Dorado.  

                    Yeah, we should meet up for a beer.  I will probably bring an old laptop along to keep track of what is going on in town for the holidays, so I will make sure to be in touch.

                    Judging from your posts, we might need a few–I enjoy long conversations!

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      Try to email me with some contact info before I leave on the morning of the 15th: I don’t know how often I’ll be checking email (though I do have access in my sister-in-law’s house, where we stay). Otherwise, you can find me most days at the palapa closest to El Monumento del Pescador, just north of it at the south end of Playa del Norte (the big crescent beach between Fisherman’s Monument and Valentinos).

            • ClubTwitty says:

              We had elected leaders that made decisions on public spending. This is also know as taxation via representation.  If we don’t like taxes more than we don’t like crumbling infrastructure–we can vote in El Paso or Mesa County like representation.

              MAH-you claim to be ‘principled’ and yet our fundamental principle of government is REPRESENTATIONAL democracy.  What is a more basic function of government than taking care of the collective property of its citizens?


              • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

                I also think the electorate properly puts limits on what the elected leaders can do – our constitution is a great example of that.

                If the voters here want to be asked for an increase in taxes, I think that concept has a valid argument. It’s the mechanics of TABOR that make it such a mess.

                If instead we just had a total as percentage of state GDP (or some similiar measure) and we needed a vote to take the total above it – that would be workable.

              • …I really don’t think its too much to ask the public for more money

    • allyncooper says:

      What data did you review on what is purportedly needed to repair roads and bridges? Was it from CDOT? Independent consultants? Legislative staff?

      I’m only asking because I’d like to see them too.  

    • Ralphie says:

      He abstained under Rule 17.  The company he works for does business with Pinnacol.

      Rollie Heath abstained under Rule 17 also.

      • ardy39 says:

        Or, the company that pays him?

        Whether or not these mean the same thing is yet to be determined.  😉

        • We all drive on I-70 and I-25 – shouldn’t every Senator abstain from votes on highway funding?

          • Ralphie says:

            You seemed to imply that the abstention was some sort of commentary on the bill.  It was a Rule 17 abstention, and he wasn’t the only one.

            If you have further questions, I suggest you take the matter up with Penry.

          • VoyageurVoyageur says:

            Senators have to abstain if they are especially affected by a rule.  If everyone if affected — i.e., we all use highways — then there is no special interest.  But if I own a paving company that would earn millions in contracts from new highways, then I’d abstain on the highway bill.  Incidentally, absentions are in effect No votes because on third reading, it takes 18 votes to pass.  If there are 17 yes votes and 18 abstensions, the bill fails!  The constitution requires a majority of all those elected, not just those voting, to pass on final reading.  This is bad b ecause often the interest in question is protected by a No vote…which an abstention in effect is.

  12. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    “fees on cellphones, pagers, landline telephones, cable, satellite and Internet services” in the general populace.

    Whilst insignificant in monetary terms, they are very annoying.

  13. MADCO says:

    will pass.

    As will the citizen id check that Tancredo says he’s going to put on the ballot.  And the non binding gun thing.

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      I think we’ll see most of them fail for two big reasons.

      1) Once again we’re going to have a full ballot and many will figure screw it and vote no on everything.

      2) The internet changes this a lot. It used to be that limited time meant dueling TV ads and hat was it. With the net people now take the time to Google.

      I think the net is going to have a greater impact on this going forward. I think my coloradoballot website got 50,000 viewers with 10 pages/viewer as we approached election day – and that is a single data point. People are going out there to get the facts.

      • MADCO says:

        But I saw similar analysis pre-tabor.

        Not so much the internet, but the facts and logic and all that good stuff.  It worked twice.

        But then TABOR passed by a slim margin and became the beacon for all that is good and just and conservative in Colorado

        • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

          And the next 10 – 20 years is going to see rapid change in what influences votes. But I see it already having a substantial impact, not just with Obama (and Jared Polis who owned the web for CD-2).

          I tracked what my ballot site did because it was a window into how people were getting info – and how many were using it. I also saw it in the recent Boulder City Council election both in the stats hitting my site and how what was on the web totally framed the election.

          It’s going to be interesting to see how this works – we’ve got a ton of elections here where we can see how this plays.

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        The far right strategy is simple.  Run ten iniatives, the purpose of which is to destroy all life on this planet.  When reasonable people mobilize to defeat them, they have no time or energy left to promote anything positive, so the state continues its slide into the toilet.  Yes, we’ll defeat the latest billion dollar tax cut for the rich.  But we’ll still continue smashing higher education and letting our roads crumble.  Somehow, sane Coloradans have to get the initiative back.  

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