Hey, look: We finally found a former Trump staffer who is smart enough to stop returning the Big Orange Guy’s calls in an effort to one day avoid going to prison. It’s time to “Get More Smarter.” If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► As Colorado Public Radio reports, a coming fight over TABOR is only intensified by new revenue forecasts:
Budget analysts for Gov. Polis and the Colorado Legislative Council briefed the Joint Budget Committee on its quarterly revenue forecasts. Both predicted a continued strong economy and revenue growth in upcoming fiscal years.
The increase should be enough to trigger tax cuts and refunds under Colorado’s Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights.
The news raises the stakes in any fight over TABOR reform. In the last legislative session, state lawmakers referred Proposition CC to the November ballot. If voters agree, it would allow the state to keep that extra money in future years. The money would be split between transportation and education.
“I think a lot of people felt, ‘Why are we going to the ballot to ask voters for permission to retain revenue when projections show we are actually not going to be over our TABOR cap,’” said Democratic Sen. Dominick Moreno, chair of the Joint Budget Committee. “This very much makes the case to voters that if this permission is not given, we will be issuing refunds for the foreseeable future in multiple fiscal years.”
► The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate voted today to deny President Trump over proposed arms deals with the Middle East. The vote comes after a new report from the United Nations about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Did Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) side with his fellow Senators at the risk of angering President Trump? Of course not.
► The Outdoor Retailer summer market kicked off in Denver with companies from across the Western U.S. expressing worries over President Trump’s ongoing trade wars.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► House Republicans are growing nervous that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) doesn’t have its shit together for 2020. From Politico:
Republicans still don’t have an answer to Democrats’ online fundraising behemoth ActBlue. GOP leaders are bickering behind closed doors. The head of recruitment has decided to retire. And some rank-and-file lawmakers are starting to express alarm about the party’s strategy as the campaign ramps up.
So National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer tried to do damage control at a private caucus meeting Wednesday, arguing to GOP lawmakers that the campaign arm was on firm ground and any suggestions of turmoil were being fabricated by Democrats and the press…
…The Minnesota Republican dismissed a POLITICO report of a clash over fundraising between him and Rep. Liz Cheney, the no. 3 House Republican. “She’s a friend of mine and I’m not going to let anyone in this town with their little blogging fingers divide us. It’s time to be unified,” he said in the meeting.
Emmer also defended the NRCC’s communications team, which is facing criticism from even GOP lawmakers for its personal attack on a Democrat — calling the 5’6” New York Rep. Max Rose “little” — and undercutting Republican leadership’s support for congressional pay raises with a press release slamming Democrats for backing the salary bump.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was asked to comment on ethics questions surrounding Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, who is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Gardner ran away.
► Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette) helped secure funding in a new education bill that is intended to provide relief for college students on overpriced textbooks.
► As the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reports, the Trump administration is doing everything it can to prop up the already-dead U.S. coal industry:
Despite scientists’ increasingly urgent warnings, the Trump administration ordered a sweeping about-face Wednesday on Obama-era efforts to fight climate change, easing restrictions on coal-fired power plants in a move it predicted would revitalize America’s sagging coal industry.
Environmentalists in Colorado, including Gov. Jared Polis, condemned the action.
As miners in hard hats and coal-country lawmakers applauded, Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler signed a measure that scraps one of President Barack Obama’s key initiatives to rein in fossil fuel emissions. The replacement rule gives states more leeway in deciding whether to require plants to make limited efficiency upgrades.
One state, New York, immediately said it would go to court to challenge the action, and more lawsuits are likely.
► As the Colorado Sun explains, the state’s Joint Budget Committee rejected an effort from Gov. Jared Polis to increase funding for mental health programs and increased school safety measures:
Lawmakers on Wednesday rejected Gov. Jared Polis’ request that they free up $3 million to hire more mental health professionals in schools, but agreed to spend $407,000 extra on training school administrators on how to conduct threat assessments.
The Polis administration said in budget requests that the money was needed for both training and more mental health spending in the wake of the fatal shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch.
Polis wanted to use marijuana sales tax revenue to help schools hiremore mental health professionals. He pointed out to lawmakers in charge of writing the budget that Colorado is not meeting recommended staffing ratios for school counselors, psychologists, nurses and social workers.
But the disclosure that marijuana tax revenue in March lagged projections left members of the powerful Joint Budget Committee struggling to justify the governor’s request.
► Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is intervening in a potential merger of United Health Group and DaVita in an effort to prevent thousands of Coloradans from significant increases in health care coverage.
► The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is planning a train from Denver to Longmont. You probably won’t live long enough to catch a ride.
► Former Vice President Joe Biden remains the frontrunner for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2020, but who is number two?
► House Democrats appear to be closing in on a measure that would set a $15-per-hour minimum wage.
► Republican Roy Moore will again run for U.S. Senate in Alabama.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Three more U.S. Senators have received a classified briefing on “UFOs” from the Pentagon.
► If lighting your cash on fire seems a bit too old-school for you, then just “donate” that money to one of several nonsense “Recall Jared Polis” organizations.
► Never fear, Trumpians! Former Colorado gubernatorial candidate Steve Barlock says President Trump can win Colorado in 2020. We’d tell you more about how this might happen, but we stopped reading after the words “Steve Barlock.”