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December 12, 2008 08:08 PM UTC

Pet Projects: 2009

  • 29 Comments
  • by: adam.kretz

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

So, after sitting through tons of legislative agenda meetings over the past couple of weeks, and hearing all of the possible stuff coming through the House and Senate this coming session, I am tempted to pose two questions to our esteemed readers on the right and left:

What should be the first bill that the legislature tries to pass in 2009 (i.e. the most pressing and important piece of legislation)?

and

What is your “pet project” bill that you would like the legislature to try and take up?

What is the most important thing the legislature should tackle?

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Comments

29 thoughts on “Pet Projects: 2009

  1. The energy industry is getting a huge free ride by paying the lowest taxes in the region. Even Repub Wyoming charges more than we do on their enegry industry.

    My Pet Project would be “Leave No Vet Behind.” PTSD screening for all returning National Guard and Reserve Troops (and free mental health counseling for SM and their families), automatic recognition of military jobs in relation to civilian positions, and strong civil protection (employment and financial) for Guard and Reservists who go off to war.

        1. of how we fund those projects in the first place.  Absolutely agree that doing so would create jobs and be great for the economy but for years the anti-spending crowd has made us an anti-investment state when it comes to out future, including maintaining our infrastructure, providing for our transportation needs and needs for an educated work force.

          So many things are hard to fix because of wacky dueling requirements in the budget/tax/fiscal area set in stone as constitutional amendments. That whole mess needs to be urgently addressed in order to address almost all other issues.  And just tinkering around the edges isn’t going to do it.

  2. How about….

    An economic stimulus package, focused on job funding for transportation and new energy, paid for by reforming corrections efforts on victimless drug offenses and reforming taxes on the O&G industry?

    Crap.  I left out health care…  Okay – one more change, then: pass health care reform creating better/bigger risk pools to lower costs for small businesses and individuals, and create that state-run pool that failed last time out.

  3. they are all important.  Given our current political climate (in Colorado) I think we need a Steven Douglas who will put together a package of several bills that can be passed separately and will meet those needs.  Also, to shepherd any said tax bills onto the ballot.  

    So, once we get past the impossible, let’s move on.  Unfortunately, we need bills on all of those subjects, plus a few more.  It’s going to take a piecemeal process over several years.  I would like to see the Legislature and Governor put together something that will replace C when it expires.  Sooner the better.

  4. We don’t need to worry about stimulus or transportation because the big three will go out of business and because of that everyone in the US will all lose their jobs.

    1. I agree that education should be the priority (perhaps selfishly), though energy and transportation are very important as well.

      I think I agree with MADCO that the budget/tax process needs to be fixed first, though.

  5. Only because federal funds will start coming in as soon as Obama hits the West Wing.  This will allow Colorado to use these funds for ready to go projects around the state.

    The Legislature will be able to pass smaller transportation funding bills since the feds relieved some of the pain.

    The Gov will sign said bills and declare the transportation issue solved in CO, a great peg to hang his hat on for reelection.

    Now, with that said, I would rather focus attention on the fiscal/constitutional mess since that truly is at the root of almost every problem in CO.

    But we need to fix what we can, when we can and if fed transportation dollars arrive and the Gov and CDOT choose projects wisely (spread the wealth across the entire state, i.e. city/county/state roads), CO comes out ahead.

  6. Raise the state tax rates.  Leave 4.5% for most, 5.75 as a marginal rate above 2 times state average income and 7.0 at 5 times average.  Make severace tax = to the New Mex. and Wyoming average rate.  Put extra income into schools and infrastructure.  Give our kids a chance at a future.  Allow Colo to compete in a world economy

    1. Let’s just pass it in the state legislature. Since the Democrats have the majority in both houses, as well as the Governor’s mansion, it should be easy to raise taxes a little to make the necessary investments in our state.

      1. Unless we mention the root cause on occasion.  We will never fund anything.  We will end up with a class system like Mexico.  Remember it took many elctions for Bruce to pass his bill – 51/49?  Also if it wasn’t for the southern democrats taking over the Republican party, we would still have a conservative, funded state with education and infrasture intact.  

  7. 1.  Get highways and roads on a strict user-pay basis and out of the General Fund forever.  [Get rid of the SB97-1 fiasco.  And constitutionalize, if necessary, a firewall between highway funding and the General Fund.] In the short term:

     -Raise the gas tax 8 cents a gallon to be used for state roads only.  No bizzare allocation formula.  

     -Increase car registration fees $50/year and divide between the state and the local governments to maintain roads and bridges [not build them].

     – require impact fees from commercial and residential builders to contribute to local road building.

    2.  Change the constitution to permit a real estate transfer tax and then create one and designate it as a General Fund revenue… no earmarking, etc.

    3.  Increase the severance tax to match the effective rates of Wyoming and drop the revenues into the General Fund.  And untangle the property tax from the severance tax — what a dumb idea.  No earmarking for higher ed or anyone else.

    4.  Increase the income tax:  Reinstate moderately progressive rates up to 10%.  With a higher income floor.  With the lower brackets at 3%.   Here again, no earmarking.

    5.  Increase the state sales tax bach to where it was in 1997…   what…  3%?   No earmarking.

    6.  Reduce structural costs imposed by the “rage to punish.”  Increase prison diversion and put more money into addiction prevention, recidivism prevention among younger criminals.

    1. …this is a great chance to raise the gas tax, er, “user fee”, even if there is an expiration.  That may be needed to make it politically palatable.  

  8. If I was in the legislature I would be prodding my fellow politicians to ban robocalls with the exception of banking/credit alerts and explicitly requested opt-in services. No exceptions for political polls, political alerts, etc, etc. There is no political good served by having machines call people.

    But my priority would be to find a fix for the tax system that a majority could agree upon or at least to chip away at the problem. I am of the strong opinion that we need a way to substitute taxes, that is if one tax starts declining due to changes in buying habits or we just want to eliminate an unfair tax we should be able to replace it with some other tax without a public vote.

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