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July 26, 2011 01:41 AM UTC

Excuse me GOP, but how will you pay for that?

  • by: Jason Salzman

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

These days, Republicans in the Colorado Assembly are facing a question they’re not used to being asked: how will you pay for that?

In 2009, state Republicans and Democrats were both saying they wanted to pass legislation to upgrade Colorado’s roads and bridges. The Dems’ plan, the FASTER legislation that passed over GOP objections, was funded by increased vehicle registration fees and a $2 fee on rental cars.

Speaking for the Republicans, Rep. Mike May said: “The Republican plan is: Building roads, not bureaucracies.”

Yet reporters couldn’t bring themselves to writing, plainly, that the GOP had no plan to fund road construction. Instead reporters mostly regurgitated vague GOP notions to sell bonds, maybe raise vehicle fees way lower than Dems’ proposed, or leverage the “value of state buildings.”

In the last few years, reporters have gotten better at stating that Republicans have no plan, when they don’t have one for paying for tax cuts or pet spending increases.

For example, the headline on a Spot blog post July 21 stated, factually, that House Republicans wouldn’t say how they would pay for restoring a property tax break for seniors, which is set to take effect in 2012, after being suspended for two years by Democrats in 2010, generating about $100 million for the state.

The Post quoted House Speaker Frank McNulty as saying that the days of balancing the state budget on backs of seniors were gone.

But the article pointed out that the reality that relieving the back ache would require cuts to other programs.

And so The Post did what you, I, or any sane journalist would do. It asked McNulty about how he’d adjust the state budget to pay for the tax break, but the House Speaker refused to tell The Post where these cuts would be made.

A day after The Post piece appeared,  the Durango Herald covered Gov. John Hickenlooper’s response to McNulty’s plan to restore the property tax break for seniors. Hick said more budget cuts were likely and so the only way to pay for a tax cut for seniors would be to make even deeper cuts to the state budget.

But unlike The Post, the Herald didn’t get a direct response from McNulty on how he planned to pay for the tax break.

Neither did the Pueblo Chieftain, in its article about Hickenlooper’s response to McNulty. The Chieftain reported:

“McNulty said he is optimistic that a rebound in state revenue will enable Colorado to restore the tax break to seniors.”

I’m glad McNulty is optimistic, but the Chieftain should have asked the follow-up question: What if the rebound doesn’t materialize? What’s McNulty’s plan? What would he cut?


6 thoughts on “Excuse me GOP, but how will you pay for that?

  1. First they laughed at Paygo, then they fought Paygo, and then Paygo won. Ask them again, Tim Hoover. And again. Who pays for all the wonderful tax breaks you want to give away?

    Damn right!

  2. About a year ago I read an online WSJ article about how Detroit was razing entire blocks of housing. Featured in the article was the house Mitt Romney grew up in, scheduled for demolition.

    The WSJ article quoted Mitt as saying this was all the result of “liberal social policies”. Since there was no elaboration on what these “liberal social policies” were, I emailed the WSJ reporter and asked what they were.

    A few days later I got a reply from him. He said he didn’t know since he didn’t ask Romney.

    I’m glad Woodward and Bernstein knew what a followup question was.  

    1. on the beauty of the follow up question.

      For example, the lapdogs for the O&G industry are often quite quick to point out how there are “no scientific studies” documenting that this or that practice (or this or that substance) causes harm to people (or other living things).

      Reporters should be ready with the follow up question of How many scientific studies have been conducted to investigate this or that factor?

      Those O&G folks are clever. They know you won’t find that something is harmful if you refuse to look for it.

  3. They will pay for all programs through tax breaks for the “job creators”  This will increase overall revenue and the budget crisis will be a thing of the past.  No need to explain the obvious is it?  It’s the answer to everything now.  

    Ever wonder when we will hit the point that taxes will be low enough that the job creators actually start creating all them jobs and increase the tax revenue?

    How come nobody in the news industry will point out that higher taxes is an incentive to hire more beause then they won’t get taxed as much.  Businesses get taxed on earnings after expenses, like payroll, not on gross revenue.  The lower the tax, the more incentive to pull your money out of the business and buy that land in Vail you been looking at.

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