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February 09, 2006 09:00 AM UTC

Penry vs. Caldara, Round 1

  • 12 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

Independence Institute head Jon Caldara, who helped make a mockery of the ‘No on C&D’ campaign last fall, has now drawn the ire of another Republican, Rep. Josh Penry.

From the Rocky Mountain News:

A Western Slope lawmaker today described Independence Institute President Jon Caldara as a “big city” Robin Hood, taking money from rural Colorado and distributing it on the Front Range.

Rep. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, was one of four Western Slope lawmakers to denounce Caldaras proposed ballot initiative that would take energy tax money and use it to offset heating costs. They pointed out that the tax, imposed on oil and gas industries, is intended to go back to energy communities to help them deal with the impact on roads, schools and health care.

Caldara maintains the state is rolling severance tax dough, and its better off spent by the taxpayers than the state.

Penry said the proposal is “scary” because voters are likely to see “heating tax rebate” in the ballot language and not realize the damage they would do to rural and Western Colorado if they voted for it.

Comments

12 thoughts on “Penry vs. Caldara, Round 1

  1. The mineral severance taxes were suppose to be used to mitigate energy exploration impacts and take the tax burdens off the effected populace. Yet, taxpayers in counties impacted by oil and gas industry and their employees and subcontractors, are having to pick up most of the tab for increased services, road damage, more schools and public facilities, etc.

    That is because the state is taking a big wack out of these severance funds for the Dept of Natural Resource and the Dept of Local Affairs. Now they want more and everyone else wants a piece of the action.

    Heck, severance tax money was even used to pay a penalty for Colorado using too much water out of the Arkansas.

    In 2005, the Dept of Local Affairs used a different formula that basically cut severance tax revenues to hard hit areas like Garfield and Mesa and corresponding towns in half or more. DOLA had the gall to say that the town of DeBeque had no oil and gas workers, hence deserved no severance taxes despite the fact the DeBeque mayor went door to door and counted hundreds. Unfortunately, as a result, DeBeque had to cut out ambulance and other governmental services.

    Of course, the counties impacted by oil and gas do not have the political clout/population to protect severance taxes from being dipped into by legislators, the governor’s office and special interests.

    What makes counties and towns and organizations, that do not have to endure dust, air pollution, water contamination, housing shortages, gas rigs, social problems etc etc from gas exploration, feel that they should be entitled to these monies as well?

    Where will it end? Will citizens in counties like Garfield, Mesa, LaPlata, Weld be “taxed to death” because the severance taxes were used for everything BUT to mitigate energy impacts?

    There may be a new “range war” brewing…..

  2. Penry is something. He campaigned hard against Ref C & D, repeating the mantra that money is best spent in the hands of the taxpayer. Now that his ox is to be gored, it’s different.

    west slope republicans…you gotta love ’em.

  3. justwonder, you apparently aren’t intelligent enough to see the difference between people keeping more of their money (C and D debate), and government redistributing money from one region to another (Caldera’s proposal).  Not rocket science.

    Penry’s a conservative Maverick.  He seems to just call em like he sees em, to hell with who’s on the opposing side.  Kinda refreshing. actually.

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