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August 14, 2015 03:48 PM UTC

Americans For Prosperity Eats Its Own, John Suthers Edition

  • by: Colorado Pols
Mayor John Suthers of Colorado Springs.
Mayor John Suthers of Colorado Springs.

We noted it in today’s Get More Smarter, but worth its own mention as the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Billie Stanton reports:

Americans for Prosperity says no sales tax increase is needed to fix Colorado Springs roads, but Mayor John Suthers says that contention is based on “an incredibly uninformed analysis.”

AFP, a Republican political advocacy group, issued a news release Thursday saying a certified public accountant had reviewed the city’s budget and found Colorado Springs has “more than enough money” to fix its infrastructure without pursuing a sales tax increase…

So, here’s the thing about driving around in Colorado Springs: the roads are in very bad shape. We know you all regularly drive over rough patches in your commutes wherever you live, but in Colorado Springs, those rough patches are more like the whole road. As with just about every other public service in Colorado’s world-famous conservative mecca, the maintenance of the city’s ribbed backsides has always been carried out on a shoestring budget.

But forget all that, folks, this is the land of the Ronald Reagan Highway! And if a shining city on a hill like Colorado Springs were to vote to raise taxes on itself to pay for something done by the government, why, those pesky liberal blogs would never let them hear the end of it.

Americans for Prosperity.
Americans for Prosperity.

And that is how conservative Republican Mayor John Suthers of Colorado Springs, the state’s former attorney general, would up on the wrong side of Koch brothers-funded conservative astroturf group Americans for Prosperity.

Suthers said he had been in office about a week when Jeff Crank, formerly of AFP, asked if his budget expert could look at the city budget. But no one did, nor did they contact the city’s finance office or the citizens committee that’s studied city budgets for six years, the mayor said…

Suthers completely dismissed [AFP accountant Steven] Anderson’s recommendations, pointing out that sales tax money comes from more than city residents, [Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority] money is distributed as it should and tax rebate deals to promote development bolster the economy and create jobs. Furthermore, he said, the only entities excluded from city property taxes are churches, nonprofits and the military.

“Do you think the citizens of Colorado Springs would vote to tax churches and nonprofits? We’d be the only jurisdiction in Colorado that did that,” Suthers said. [Pols emphasis]

It’s tough to say how this one will play out. Groups like AFP are masters at pushing the precise messaging buttons needed to turn out the blind-charging anti-tax conservative base in droves, and the deep pockets to give them all T-shirts. Against that, you have the credibility of a popular conservative Republican mayor, asking for money to fix his city’s monumentally crappy roads.

The outcome will show who’s doing the proverbial wagging: the tail or the dog.

Or maybe AFP is the dog now.


20 thoughts on “Americans For Prosperity Eats Its Own, John Suthers Edition

    1. They think there's really plenty of money for that. It must be that evil government employees are using that money to pay for their yachts. Bet Suthers, being Mayor, has three or four but just one each for cops and firefighters.

  1. This is local government, the basest of the base for government services. Even the staunchest conservatives is willing to let their sales tax go up a bit if it means the roads are drivable. AFP is probably in for a rude awakening on this fact. 

    1. CO Springs is a perfect example of the failure of Republican ideology and prove of their complete inability to govern. Local city and county offices have been held by Republicans and far-right Repubs and out-and-out pyschotics for years. This is the result and D's* should remind everyone in CO every chance they get. 

      Well, that is those D's who aren't perfectly happy with being in a "purple" state where we all get along so well and create bipartisan joy every time there's agreement on something.

    1. Exactly. He spent too much time in Denver and has become a weak liberal. How did he ever get elected mayor in the Springs where there are some many real conservatives?

      1. Didn't he also defend a gun control bill while he was AG? And he threw in the towel too soon (in the eyes of some) on same sex marriage?  He's bedwetting, panty-waste liberal in the eyes of real conservatives!

      1. That ship sailed long ago. I think it was back in the early '90's when Charlie Duke represented El Paso County in the state senate and had auditory hallucinations during which he claimed he could hear the sound of the Beast at the state capitol.

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