More Painful Cuts Before Election Day, Next Year a Fright

As reported widely this morning, the Colorado budget continues to struggle with a sluggish economic recovery, and increased federal Medicaid reimbursement that, while welcome additional help, came in somewhat less than what the state originally forecast.

These ongoing shortfalls add up to over $250 million in additional cuts or revenue finds (not many of those left now) to balance the present fiscal year’s budget, the details of which the Governor will announce next month, and well over a billion dollars of additional cutting by the legislature in January for the fiscal year beginning in June. Release from Gov. Bill Ritter follows: “We will do what we can to minimize pain and protect essential services. We’ll continue to employ a strategy of shared sacrifice and solutions, and we are going to remain aggressive about economic development so Colorado is well-positioned for a strong, sustainable and healthy recovery.”

And remember, folks, these cuts are just a taste of what Republicans are proposing–not just calling for out of necessity, mind you, but campaigning on–should they win majorities in November. And as Ritter says in this release, over $4.4 billion in shortfalls have already been closed by the legislature since the recession began. Everything that’s left to cut is something you, lay citizen, are going to miss dearly.

OFFICE OF GOV. BILL RITTER JR.

WWW.COLORADO.GOV/GOVERNOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MONDAY, SEPT. 20, 2010

CONTACTS

Evan Dreyer, 720.350.8370, evan.dreyer@state.co.us

Myung Oak Kim, 303.947.5708, myung.kim@state.co.us

GOV. RITTER STATEMENT ON TODAY’S ECONOMIC FORECASTS

Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement regarding today’s quarterly economic and revenue forecasts, which show the need for additional budget cutting and balancing in the current fiscal year:

“Today’s forecasts are a clear reminder that Colorado’s economic recovery is not nearly as robust as Coloradans want or need. Economic growth remains volatile and sluggish, and Colorado families and businesses are not yet seeing healthy, sustainable or certain growth in their bottom lines, while government agencies also continue to face difficult budgets.

“Since the recession started, my office and the legislature have cut spending and closed shortfalls of $4.4 billion. Today’s forecasts mean we face even more difficult and unenviable decisions ahead to keep the budget balanced – and we’ll be making those decisions from a list of options that has grown shorter and shorter since the recession hit.

“We will do what we can to minimize pain and protect essential services. We’ll continue to employ a strategy of shared sacrifice and solutions, and we are going to remain aggressive about economic development so Colorado is well-positioned for a strong, sustainable and healthy recovery.

“As challenging as today’s forecasts are, the fact remains that the economy is better off today than it was a year ago. We are seeing positive signs – consumer spending is growing, new claims for unemployment insurance are down and people are reducing their debt levels – and we are well-positioned for sustainable growth in the months ahead.”

After the Governor’s Office reviews the forecasts, the Governor will announce a plan to close the FY10-11 shortfall by the end of October. At the same time, the Governor’s Office is preparing to submit a proposed FY11-12 budget to the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee on Nov. 1.

70 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Libertad says:

    The spending habit causes a need for the state budget to be forecast short. Unfortunately the spending habit has been fed through new and increased taxes, federal bailouts and Obamagrants designed to launch new government programs when the taxes did not exist to create these.

    The new taxes avoided a review by the electorate. Worse some were levied by administrators, while other opportunities used judicial fiat to justify their creation.

    Its good to hear Hickenlooper and Tancredo plan to cut spending. It’s time to pivot away from ‘wrong track, wrong direction’

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      we know, and so do you, that these were fees. I am not going to engage in the never ending argument of when is a fee not a tax, but these were fees. No doubt they aroused folks and angered them, but the increase in fees for auto registration were necessary because CDOT can not raise enough $ from fuel taxes and other sources to take care of roads. I would prefer now and then if we had raised the fuel tax.

      • Libertad says:

        Did you go to the state house in Denver and ask your leaders to make the tough choices to feed the habit or reduce the habit?

        Nope, you said tax business and Colorado consumers and by the way spend more and reform less.

        Its quite sad.

    • CastleMan says:

      “Unfortunately the spending habit has been fed through new and increased taxes, federal bailouts and Obamagrants designed to launch new government programs when the taxes did not exist to create these.”

      You must be kidding.

      Remember the Medicare part D program Bush and his GOP buddies running Congress created?

  2. dmindgo says:

    I’ll say it:  raise the income tax rate for the upper 10% of income back up to 5%.  Institute a rainy day fund that will be paid first if we have excess revenue – before the rebate.  Build that rainy day fund until it is at least 6 months of state expenses.

    • Voyageur says:

      Rate is now 4.62 pct.  Raising just .38 on the top ten percent wouldn’t seem to do much.  

      • Libertad says:

        That and a millionaires surcharge tax hike will raise nearly a billion $s or more.

        I encourage you to pursue your class warfare on the rich.

        http://www.coloradoreformround

        • parsingreality says:

          After all, they’ve pursued their class warfare on the poor for 10,000 years.  And the only time the middle class got a leg up to live a decent life was when we had top tax rates of over 90%.

          Are you rich and this would impact you?

          Why is it you and your brethren do the front line work for the uber rich while they sit by the pool sipping fine wines and collecting dividends?

          Are ya puny, boy?  (Old Southern expression for weak of mind.)

          • Libertad says:

            As outlined by Obama supporters who today said this at “Investing in America’…

            A 30-year-old law school graduate, Ted Brassfield, told Mr. Obama he had hoped to pursue a career in public service – like the president – but could barely pay the interest on his student loans, let alone think of getting married or starting a family.

            “I was really inspired by you and your campaign and the message you brought, and that inspiration is dying away,” Mr. Brassfield said, adding, “What I really want to know is: Is the American dream dead for me?”

            — source NYTimes

            As to the solution my President seeks and has requested of the Tea Party …. I offer this  … stop the administrative regulatory overreach, stop your bailouts, stop the tax and fee increases, repeal Obummercare, and for the sake of your underfunded pension funds allow the the Bush Tax Cuts to continue.

            Your supporters have jumped ship … they are running for the hills with gun in hand.

            “I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for,” said the first questioner, an African-American woman who identified herself as a chief financial officer, a mother and a military veteran. “I’ve been told that I voted for a man who was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class, and I’m waiting, sir, I’m waiting. I still don’t feel it yet.”

            • dmindgo says:

              and Reagan raised taxes.

              Knock, knock, it’s reality.

              Tell us which DOD programs will be reduced in Colorado?  Cheyenne Mountain, Air Force Academy? hmm?

              Underfunded pension funds?  the ones the govt took over to protect workers because the company was so good with the fund?

            • the Green Party.  TEA Party For The Rich need not apply, since they’re not interested in the middle class or overwhelming student loans not covered by decent civil service work.

            • CastleMan says:

              Libertad, you have alot of gall.

              The recession that “officially” ended last year, but which continues to ravage America’s working class, started when George W. Bush was president.

              In fact, where was your sanctimonious complaints about federal spending when Bush took a budget surplus and promptly turned it into the then- largest budget deficit in history?

              Where were your concerns when Bush and the Republican-dominated Congress passed a whole new entitlement program with no way to pay for it? When they started not one, but two, wars and then kept them “off budget” so that we wouldn’t know what they cost? When the Republican Congress ended the “pay-go” rules that were so instrumental in building that surplus?

              Where was your outrage when the Bush administration, not the Obama administration, asked for and secured passage of the TARP bill? The auto manufacturers’ bailout legislation?

              If you’d bother to actually read, you’d learn real fast that, in fact, the Obama administration’s policies, and those of the Democratic Congress, have prevented a slide into a second Great Depression and, in fact, have fostered a fragile, slow, frustrating, but nevertheless real, recovery in the making.

              But then again, when did Republicans ever give a damn about facts?

  3. JO says:

    In the latest unemployment report, governments (feds

    plus state/local) caused net layoffs. What Washington gives (stimulus) states take away, and then some. This is a twofer for Bucksters: more unemployed collecting insurance plus fewer people spending money that might contribute to a more robust economy.

    Understand Buck went to Princeton. Sounds good, but did he study economics, even a little?  

    • It’s a bit confusing and without a linked source.

      I’m assuming what really affected the last report was the census layoff, plus perhaps the reduction in Federal aid to the states as a result of the one-year stimulus package being succeeded by the smaller package just passed?

      • dmindgo says:

        have been letting people go in order to meet their budgets.  Even with the stimulus.

        • Libertad says:

          The Colorado local tax burden is ranked 2nd nationally. Where you gonna go for more taxes?

          • ardy39 says:

            According to the Colorado Legislative Council Staff Colorado’s combined state and local taxes earned it a rank of 45th in the nation – state taxes were the 3rd lowest whereas local taxes were 12th highest. (They also note that Wyoming, despite not having an income tax, has the highest tax “burden” in the country.)

            According to The Tax Foundation Colorado ranked 34th for combined state and local taxes with a rate of 9.0% compared to the national average 9.7%.

            According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Colorado ranks 46th for tax “burden” on income and 27th for tax “burden” per capita.

            All of these sources indicate that Colorado taxpayers pay taxes at lower rates than average. All deny your claim that

            Colorado taxes are ranked very high

            So, what’s your source, L’tad? And why are you avoiding the state tax “burden” which is the one that the Governor and state legislature can set.

            • Libertad says:

              Colorado ranks 26th in non federal government spending per capita and 27th nationally on a per household basis.

              Here’s what the government spends here in CO:

              $7,853/capita and $20,269/household based on 2006 numbers. Count the $3.6 billion from Ref C and I am sure its even higher.

              Read and weep big tax and spenders … http://www.taxfoundation.org/r

              • ardy39 says:

                and not what you said above.

                Above, you claimed:

                Colorado taxes are ranked very high

                I provided links with evidence that Colorado’s local and state taxes put us in (or near) the lowest quartile.

                Admit it, L’tad, you were MSU.

                Or, provide a link to real evidence that supports your claim.

              • ardy39 says:

                but, L’tad, do you read the links you provide?

                And, do you read what you post?

                Colorado ranks right in the middle-high

                So, now you want to change the subject from taxes to spending, and then you provide a link showing that spending in Colorado is 7-10% BELOW the U.S. average and you call this “middle-high?”

                Hello? Does this thing work? If the spending is below average, then Colorado ranks (wait for it) in the middle-LOW.

                So, I have now shown that state & local taxes in Colorado are quite low and spending in Colorado is below the U.S. average.

                Do you have another non sequitur you’d like to post?

      • JO says:

        The source is the BLS report for August, dated Sep. 3: http://www.bls.gov/news.releas

        Private sector created 67k jobs, which was offset by 121k jobs lost from government sector: “Government employment fell by 121,000, reflecting the departure of 114,000 temporary Census 2010 workers….”

        While the Census layoff was a one-time event, nevertheless there are multiple reports of “pending,” “planned,” or “threatened” layoffs (teachers are most often mentioned) by state and local governments in order to balance budgets in the light of reduced revenue and mandated balanced budgets — some of which may or may not be avoided by federal stimulus funds. (“Praise Google from Whom all data flows.”)

      • JO says:

        Ken attended Princeton University and earned his undergraduate degree in politics in 1981. He received his Juris Doctorate in 1985 from the University of Wyoming School of Law.

        Slightly unusual combo, I’d think, but who are we to question…

  4. pinkermonkey says:

    The future of this state is in its ability to attact and retain young people from other states who don’t know how bad it will become for their kids after they start a family.  Schools w/ 50kids/class.  No College under $20k/yr tuition.  Roads that resemble 3rd world efforts, and infrastructure crumbling.

    And, what pray tell is the Republican answer???  Lower taxes.  

    And to think, this budget scenerio is actually rosy if the evil 3 pass.

    I really wish someone would ask the voters what kind of state they want, and tie that question with what do they want to afford.  The state we’ll have in 5 years isn’t worth having in my mind…  Democrats I’m looking at you.  Who will step up and defend the future?

  5. dmindgo says:

    Don’t we want to go there?

    • JO says:

      COLORADO SPRINGS (Crackpot News) — The mayor of Colorado Springs announced tomorrow that the city was extending its “adopt a streetlight” program to police cars.

      Residents are invited to sponsor a police car in their residential district in order to assure that officers will be able to use cars, rather than bicycles supplied by the United Nations, in responding to emergency calls. Neighbors are allowed to share the costs to reduce the prospect that it will take obese officers up to 90 minutes to get to their houses, and that even then, the responders will require a nap before they are able to chase a bad guy–on their bike.

      The mayor also said that the 911 switchboard will continue to be staffed from 9-5 Monday through Friday, 10-4 on Saturday, and will be closed on Sundays.

  6. CastleMan says:

    Colorado has the same problem as the country as a whole. The state’s revenues do not match the needs of the population.

    Our income tax rates are too low. The legislature should raise them all by two percentage points.

    As for spending, there are things that could be cut. I still don’t see why a Department of Local Affairs is NECESSARY, desirable though it may be, and I don’t see why we can’t consolidate the counties (thus lowering the local tax burden and, likely, total local government spending – though those don’t impact state spending and revenue). And why can’t we get rid of the two-tier trial court system and have just one tier? Again, it’s not NECESSARY to have two separate levels to try cases.

    I don’t know how much those things would save, and I do know that K-12, transportation, prisons and Medicaid are the main expenditure categories for the state.

    But even on that score, we should be talking about more realism on prison sentences, which would lower corrections costs, and get rid of privately-managed prisons, which over-charge the taxpayers to assure a profit for their bosses.

    OK, I’m sure I’ve pissed off someone with this. So have at it.

    • When you’ve already cut $4b from the state budget over the past few years, you have to get creative to find more.

      You can’t consolidate counties without their vote.  You can’t consolidate cities (or cities into counties) without their vote.  You can’t split off parts of governmental entities without the vote of the whole entity (e.g. Gilpin County schools would like to re-acquire the rest of Gilpin County that’s now in Boulder, but we’d never get the approval of BVSD to do so…)

      As to the courts, we might be able to simplify the system, but we’re already understaffed in the courts, so I don’t see a big savings resulting.  Your last suggestion is something we need to look at, and something I think a lot of people in the state government are afraid to touch for looking “weak” on crime.

      • CastleMan says:

        So why don’t we begin thinking about whether that’s a good idea, to get a constitutional amendment on county consolidation?

        Why don’t we look at exactly how much money could be saved, if any, by court consolidation, de-criminalization of minor drug possession and use incidents, terminating private prisons, broadening the basis for parole in non-violent felony and misdemeanor cases, and, yes, eliminating unnecessary cabinet departments like DOLA and, maybe, the Department of Agriculture (whose functions could be handled by DNR).

        On the schools budget, why not examine the feasibility and value of putting a cap on the amount of state money that can be spent on district and school administrators and district central office personnel? In Douglas County the new superintendent of schools is being paid $270K per year. That’s more than President Clinton made while in office! There are high schools on the Front Range that have SIX assistant principals. Is that really needed? Four of those people could be given classes to teach.

        In fact, why not centralize in the state Department of Education all basic functions like facilities construction planning, property acquisition, payroll management, etc., that are currently duplicated in districts and let the districts focus their autonomy on where it belongs – the curriculum (which pretty much sucks in most districts anyway, even if they could be considered to have one), teacher hiring and training, and facilities management?

          • Car 31 says:

            What Castleman suggests in his first paragraph is already being done.  There’s a state group that has passed legislation over the last few years accomplishing much of what he lists. The savings are significant and the money will be reinvested in areas that will prevent crimes instead of reacting to crimes (cheaper and more effective in the long run).

            School administration and bureaucracy may be bloated in some places and some administrators overpaid, however, how much of this is the requirement of federal and state mandates? How much flexibility does a school district have in trimming the fat off of their own budgets? I would agree that $250K is too high for a superintendent, yet that is an important job which requires skills and expertise. How much is too much?

            Any centralization is just a shell game, IMO. If we centralize efforts at the state level, the state needs to hire personnel to do the work.  Then we run the risk of poorly trained state employees dictating what needs to be done on the local level (“Your school can only afford 6 books/classroom because that is the formula”) vs the flexibility allowed at the local level. Some curriculums suck, but some don’t – success depends more on parental involvement and student motivation than on dictated curriculums.

            Don’t even get me started on the wasted hours teachers spend on professional development and relearning new databases and testing methods each year…

            • CastleMan says:

              “Some curriculums suck, but some don’t – success depends more on parental involvement and student motivation than on dictated curriculums.”

              And student motivation would be vastly higher if we had a common curriculum, based on actual content of knowledge requirements (not the vague “standards”), that was in effect in every elementary, middle, and high school in the state (actually, in the country).

              Curriculum IS the problem. For nearly 70 years this country has allowed the education schools to pitch this Reausseau-inspired, “child-centered learning” nonsense that has destroyed any modicum of uniformity, expectations, academic consistency, and respect for knowledge and the information that every child needs to be a functional citizen of a republic.

              • Car 31 says:

                I’m not sold that a standardized curriculum would increase student motivation. I tend to agree with you that the curricula aren’t the best.

                Curriculum isn’t THE problem. Here’s other food for thought:

                – classes with 30+ students in them

                – over dependence on testing as a measure of performance for students, teachers and schools

                – urban school districts with low funding and migratory populations

                – top down decision making leading to inflexibility for schools to address individualized problems

                – poor nutrition in schools

                – teachers unwilling to serve in difficult schools bailing out to suburban districts

                – federal mandates that hamper creativity

                – lack of job training for students who don’t want to go to college

                – parents who would rather plop their kids in front of the TV or video games instead of doing the hard work of helping educate their kids

                – students who aren’t motivated because their brains are fried on TV, video games, pot, texting or a multitude of other distractions.

                Your suggestion is a good one concerning curriculum, but there are many other areas we need to address as well. I do agree that we, as a country, have strayed from “uniformity, expectations, academic consistency, and respect for knowledge”.

                But, getting back to the point of the diary, who pays for the curriculum, training, assessment…when we’re out of money?

      • JO says:

        More power to the counties, begin phasing out the state.

        Exception: State collects property taxes, reimburses school boards, same $$$ per capital everywhere.  

    • DavidThi808 says:

      We decriminalize drugs? It would reduce prison and judicial costs by over half and increAse tax revenue. And drug use is a health issue, not a criminal issue.

    • Libertad says:

      Colorado has the same problem as the country as a whole. The state’s revenues do not match the level of our government spending.

      The Democrat ‘big government growth model’ is the wrong direction.

      Which comes first government spending or citizen’s creation of an economic transactions that can generate tax revenues?

    • Car 31 says:

      Agreed on the income tax increase.

      Concerning DOLA or any other state department, who would do the statutory requirements the department currently holds? The issue is, if you get rid of a department, 1) you’ve increased unemployment, 2) the provided services need to be taken on by some other Department, and 3) you may save some money, but you’ve increased the size of other state Departments since they’ll have to staff up to provide the programs previously offered.

      As Phoenix pointed out below, you can’t consolidate counties without a vote of the people. I would argue that if there’s going to be a controversial constitutional amendment decision that other Amendments rise far above whether to consolidate counties.

      Besides, you wouldn’t decrease costs, you would increase costs for the remaining counties, since again, there are those pesky mandates such as elections and health and human services and law enforcement and road maintenance that need to get done whether you’re two smaller counties or one big one.

  7. thethinker says:

    Illegal immigration is incredibly costly to taxpayers.  It costs nearly $900 million annually to educate the K-12 age children of illegal immigrants.

    The state legislature and governor neeed to do everything they can to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the state.  One thing they can do is require all employers to utilize the E-verify system to reduce the number of illegal workers.  

    I know some of you will dispute the numbers, say it is mean to single out illegal immigrants, we need them to do the jobs Americans won’t do – yada yada yada.

    The fact remains that we spend a huge amount of money on educating children of illegal immigrants when that money could/should be spent on things that benefit legal residents and citizens.

    • ardy39 says:

      Show us how this number of $9 x 10^8 was calculated.

      And, compare this to the costs of NOT educating children who are living in this country (what will those children be doing if they are not in school? Picking strawberries? Shooting dumb asses?).

      With a handle like “thethinker” I know you’ve got ready access to all this data. Help me out.

      Show me the data.

      • thethinker says:

        Education

        “Based on an estimate of 35,000 school-age illegal aliens and 49,000 U.S.-born school-aged children of illegal alien parents and estimated per pupil costs of $11,000 per year for public K-12 schooling, Coloradans spend about $925 million annually on educating the children of illegal immigrants. An additional $68 million

        is being spent annually on programs for limited English students, most of whom are likely children of illegal aliens. Those estimates exclude federal contributions to those programs.More than one in ten

        (10.8%) K-12 public school students in Colorado is the child of an illegal alien, and this share has grown as the illegal resident population has grown.”

        If the illegal immigrant parents do not have jobs many of them will move to other state, or preferabbly, move back to their home countries, taking their children with them.  This would save tax payers hundreds of millions of $, at a time when our budget is severely strained.  Not to mention the fact that many jobs would not be available to the hundreds of thousands of unemployed legal Colorado workers.

         

        • bobster1 says:

          According to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

          http://www.sourcewatch.org/ind

          Second, the Supreme Court has ruled that states have to educate all children.  So it’s a bogus number to begin with.

          And third, those immigrants you complain about PAY taxes.

          So take your racist garbage elsewhere.

          • thethinker says:

             It has been exposed as just being a money making machine for Morris Dees, exploiting people’s fears to raise tremendous amounts of money by manufacturing ficticious “hate groups”.  If anyone is a hate group, it is the SPLC.

            Sure, states have to educate children, but if their parents move away and they don’t live in the state, they don’t need to be educated.

            Illegal immigrants pay some taxes, but no where near what they use in services – mostly because of k-12 education

            And tell me what is racist about anything I said?  You’re so lame in you’re arguments you have to play the ole “race card”  

            • Car 31 says:

              What you’re saying is that illegal immigrants’ children have a detrimental effect on the public education system in Colorado. This is true.

              They also have a significant impact on our healthcare system here, especially in Denver.

              Your proposed solution, if we’re not mistaken, is to require those illegal immigrants to move out of the state and back to their country of origin, taking their families with them – some of whom have children who were born in the US making them citizens.

              If that is your proposed solution – it could be perceived as a forced relocation of specific populations, including natural born citizenry.

              If it smells like, looks like and acts like a duck, Thinker, chances are it ain’t a turkey.

              • thethinker says:

                get jobs is “forced relocation”?  Wow, that is a new justification for ignoring illegal immigration.  I’m sure it will play well with law abiding Americans, especially those who are unemployed.

                If I was a illegal parent who didn’t have a job, I would move somewhere else, probably back to my home country, and take my children with me.  If I decided to leave my children somewhere else, it would be my decision, and it would be me breaking up my family, not someone else.

                • Car 31 says:

                  You said,

                  The state legislature and governor neeed to do everything they can to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the state.

                  and

                  If the illegal immigrant parents do not have jobs many of them will move to other state, or preferabbly, move back to their home countries, taking their children with them.

                  but rereading your posts, you didn’t propose sending all illegals back to their home countries. Sorry for jumping to that conclusion.

                  E-verify is a good tool, not perfect, but definately something that the state could mandate. Increased fines/penalties/enforcement on businesses for hiring illegal immigrants also would help.  

                  A streamlined visa application and approval process would also be of huge benefit. Since many industries in Colorado depend on immigrant labor, this would help businesses more than anything.

                  I don’t agree with your arguement about freeing up thousands of jobs for unemployed Americans. It doesn’t happen in reality. No unemployed skilled worker is going to go clean hotel rooms or work in the fields.  

                  Nor do I think that if in Colorado the jobs aren’t there for illegal immigrants, they’ll return to their home countries. Unemployed and broke in the US is still better than unemployed and broke in their home countries.

                  • thethinker says:

                    “A streamlined visa application and approval process would also be of huge benefit. Since many industries in Colorado depend on immigrant labor, this would help businesses more than anything.

                    I don’t agree with your arguement about freeing up thousands of jobs for unemployed Americans. It doesn’t happen in reality. No unemployed skilled worker is going to go clean hotel rooms or work in the fields.”

                    I’m genuinely confused by the line of thinking above.  There is general recognition that wages are not going up, poverty is going up, unemployment is outrageously high – especially for teens and minorities, and that there is a growing gap between the haves and have nots.

                    Yet, people still argue that there are jobs Americans won’t do, so we need illegal immigration or at least a system of legal immigration which ensures an ongoing source of cheap labor for employers.

                    Say what?  How about drying up the sources of cheap foreign labor, so that employers will need to pay higher wages and/or benefits to the legal workers?  Won’t this help to solve some of the problems mentioned above?

                    There are no jobs that Americans won’t do.  There are, however, jobs that Americans won’t do for the low wages and poor working conditions that are paid to poor, uneducated immigrants.

                    Please explain how we will resolve poverty, low wages, lack of benefits, a dissolving middle class, and unemployment if we continue to import 1.5 million people per year into the US, at the same time we are exporting other good jobs?

                    My bottom line is that American workers come first.  Today, it seems, the needs/wants of the immigrants and those who desire cheap labor, come first.  

                    People who don’t understand this are often the same ones wondering why so many Americans are upset and anti-government today.

                    • Car 31 says:

                      You’ve conflated my arguments to solving poverty, low wages, lack of benefits, a dissolving middle class and importing/exporting labor in the country.

                      Illegal immigration has some to do with this, but directly tying it to poverty in the US and shrinking middle class is a bit of a stretch.

                      I completely agree with you, if we were able to pay fair wages and extend good benefits for all jobs in Colorado and the US, that would be a dream come true. American workers do come first and should be protected.

                      But let me ask you this, do you believe that if a college graduate could make a living cleaning hotel rooms, or washing dishes, or working agriculture, or cooking meals, or working an assembly line in a dairy they would?

                      I’d argue they wouldn’t and don’t. Maybe because currently they can’t make a living doing it. So if we increase the wages and the benefit packages then they could. But there’s a cost to the business for doing this, as well, and since most of the businesses in the US are small businesses, there would be a significant impact if the cheap foreign labor dried up.

                      People who don’t understand this are often the same ones wondering why so many Americans are upset and anti-government today.

                      What’s your solution Thinker? How do we get rid of cheap foreign labor in this country, protect American jobs and ensure illegal immigration isn’t a drain on our economy?

                    • Americans have been offered jobs in the fields picking fruit and veggies, but they don’t take up the task.

                      Truth is, a lot of those jobs are staffed by illegals because illegals don’t complain (and can’t, really).  You can try kicking them out, you can try using E-Verify, but my guess is even E-Verify won’t do the job unless it’s beefed up with some more secure identification.  Legalizing these people – valid work visas are fine for this purpose – lifts many boats because it brings undocumented workers under the protections of the law and allows them to file complaints for poor wage rates and other abuse.  Bring the wages up and Americans might want the jobs.

        • ardy39 says:

          Thanks for providing this, tt.

          I have no idea whether the estimates of 35-84,000 children of “illegal aliens” is accurate – do think this is likely to be accurate?

          How can I verify a claim that over 10% of K-12 students are children of “illegal aliens?”

          Do you think we obtain any benefit from educating all children within a school district?

          • thethinker says:

            and the Census Bureau.  

            Other studies of the costs of illegal immigration by the Bell Center and during the Defend Colorado Now campaign come up with similar numbers of children of illegal immigrants.

            As i said earlier, if the illegal immigrants do not have jobs, great numbers of them will move somewhere else, taking their children with them.  So, we won’t have to educate their children.

    • by taxes collected from illegal immigrant workers’ wages, but not returned to them as it would be to a legal taxpaying poor person with children?

      There are lots of studies out there, with lots of different numbers.  Some say that undocumented workers are a net gain for our tax system and/or our economy.  Others say they’re a big loss.  The problem with undocumented workers is, well, they’re undocumented – it’s hard to be accurate about their effects on the system.

      As to mandating use of E-Verify, it is IMHO a good idea, but probably not something the state could get done in time to do good things for our current budget crisis.  It will take some time for employers to run all of their employees through the system, and sending an entire state’s employees through all at once would probably swamp the Federal agencies responsible (they will be responsible for handling the 8% of incorrect non-validations, plus some number of correct non-validations); you’d have to give employers a couple of years to filter it through the system.

  8. Car 31 says:

    It is interesting to read the proposals put forth on the thread. The problem is that there is no easy answer.

    The complex mix of mandates, dependent or dedicated revenue streams, Constitutional requirements and political will unnecessarily constricts us to raiding the same old pots of money again and again without being able to address the problem.

    Here’s what really gets my blood pressure up – almost immediately after the budget forecast announcement, the state Republicans sent out an email stating:

    Senate Republicans Call for End to Unsustainable Spending

    The email continues with Sens. Renfroe and Brophy bitching about a ‘bipartisan’ bill introduced last year that died in the first committee. First, bipartisan only to the point that two of the six co-sponsors were D’s that pretty much attach their names to any hare-brained idea out there. Second, the brilliant bill Brophy championed as a solution was a proposal to create two taskforces to study cost reduction measures and make recommendations in 2011.

    A word to the Republicans –  you’re beginning to sound a lot like Democrats in that you want to study stuff instead of solving it.

    “Colorado is lagging behind other states in economic recovery because of their policies. It is time we charted a new course with new priorities,” concluded Brophy.

    STFU Brophy. Instead of bitching about the administration’s spending, wouldn’t it be more productive to offer alternatives? But then again, you have no solutions, no ideas, no thoughts – nothing.

    In the meantime, the Democrats will continue to cut spending, cut services, cut revenues because that is what the people of Colorado elected them to do.

    Republicans, well, they’ll just keep bitchchin’…

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