It’s only Wednesday, but State Rep. Rod Bockenfeld (R-Watkins) has already had a busy week in the House State, Civic, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee.
On Tuesday, Bockenfeld was one of only two lawmakers (along with Republican Rep. Pat Neville) to vote in favor of a now-deceased bill from State Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Cañon City) that sought to end the widely-embraced practice of voting by mail in Colorado. Hanks’ bill was so absurd that it garnered “NO” votes from two Republicans on the committee: Reps. Mary Bradford of Colorado Springs and Dan Woog of Erie.
Alas, this was not the only eyebrow-raising moment for Bockenfeld this week.
On Monday, Bockenfeld spoke up during a committee hearing for HB22-1125, legislation sponsored by Republican Reps. Janice Rich and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg that seeks to make permanent income tax reductions.
This bill was also killed in the House State, Civic, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee, but not before ol’ Rod interjected with this bit of nonsense:
BOCKENFELD: “You know, I hear that quite often that the wealthiest pay very little tax. Well, there’s part of a reason for that. They get tax incentives given by the government to make investments in communities. And it’s through those investments that they’re getting tax breaks. And then we come back and say, ‘Because they’re investing in the communities to make everybody’s life better, that they’re not paying their fair share?’ That’s just totally false, and that demagoguery needs to stop.” [NOTE: He actually said “floss,” but we’re assuming he meant to say “false”]
To recap, rich people get tax breaks from the government so that they can spend money to make their communities better, and therefore it’s totally cool if they don’t pay much in taxes and we should definitely not be upset about that.
Taking weird sides is not unusual for Bockenfeld. During the 2021 legislative session, Bockenfeld took some well-deserved criticism after speaking up for racist people, which seems to be a popular position in his caucus.
If you’re wondering how it is that Republicans are mired in a generation-worst minority in the State House of Representatives…maybe stop wondering.
This blather reminds me of one of my go-to rants about the inequity of the tax code. Regular Americans pay their taxes. The government spends that revenue as the government sees fit. You have no say in that spending, other than your delusional belief that your vote can drive policy. No one, on the right, left, or middle is satisfied with how their tax dollars are spent.
The wealthy receive tax deductions (tax liability reduction) from charitable donations. They form their own entities, often charitable in name only, and, in effect, reroute government revenue to their own spending priorities. Even in the best, most altruistic cases (maybe the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?), you have the wealthy diverting what would otherwise be government revenue to their own personal priorities. It is nice to be rich.
Don't get me started. Some nonprofits do great work. Some nonprofits do okay work, that is least defensible under the letter and to a lesser extent the spirit of the law. Some foundations are complete freaking tax scams, and a means to keep wealthy people's idiot sons in law employed.
Bockenfeld: Gall or stupidity? At least it's honest.
The rich get tax breaks – i.e. free money gifts from the government. They deserve these tax breaks because they invest it wisely. Other people don't deserve tax breaks tho…
The lede is kind of buried here. Liberals should in fact agree with him: that tax preferences can be a valid tool to incentivize community investments. But in practice the preferences are of course prone to abuse (hello, carried interest). The gaffe here actually is that in defending his corporate welfare, he is also defending tax breaks for things like solar.