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March 17, 2009 11:40 PM UTC

Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

  • by: Colorado Pols

How did the GOP’s opposition to Senate Bill 228, the bill to repeal the 1991 Arveschoug-Bird restrictions on the state’s general fund that achieved final Senate passage today, collapse in such an embarrassing heap–and what does this fight portend for the next? From the Colorado Independent:

Passing the bill out of the Senate will be the latest success for Morse’s surprisingly resilient bill. SB 228 has inspired passionate support and opposition since it was introduced in February. Based on a new legal interpretation written by former state Supreme Court Justice Jean Dubofsky, the bill made it through a packed Senate committee hearing and then emerged victorious from a historic GOP filibuster in the chamber. With each hurdle cleared, SB 228 has gained increased momentum.

The budget reform measure has gained speed recently, for example, when opponents admitted that the state’s current budget formulas need fixing and also from the increasing perception among the public – perplexed by Republican responses to the Obama stimulus package – that the free-market anti-government philosophy of the right is ill-suited to deal with the present economic crisis… [Pols emphasis]

the 10-hour filibuster that met the bill on second reading in the Senate two weeks ago was meant to demonstrate the seriousness of GOP opposition but turned instead into a satire of “silly season” partisan-deadlock government. Members of the Republican caucus accused Democrats of manipulating chamber rules, and, in a strange turn, GOP members ended up making a marathon case for big-government-style earmark spending on pet projects, including an endless list of bridges and roads and community college buildings, which they claimed would go unfunded should Morse’s bill pass.

“Yeah … the GOP relationship to transportation [that night], I think it was pretty apparent it was not a committed relationship,” said Scott Downes, communications director for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy and the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute. “The week before the filibuster, the same group voted against FASTER,” he said…

Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, at one point during the filibuster referred to the “other programs” that he said would take funding away from the “vital transportation projects” he was pushing. At the speaker’s podium, Mitchell at one point seemed ready to clarify and expand on his arguments, saying he was opposed to funding the “other programs, like …” but then left before actually listing those programs. [Pols emphasis]

…Downes said that Republicans opposing SB 228 have made a tactical error, explaining that political posturing has resulted in a bad-faith argument that people can see through.

“A lot of what the opposition is saying is pure fiction. TABOR is the cap on spending and SB 228 does nothing to erode TABOR. … SB 228 doesn’t raise taxes at all.

“And this choice [the Republicans] have set up in opposing this bill, pavement versus people,” said Downes. “It’s a false choice.”


29 thoughts on “Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

  1. I know this is the end of the world as we know it and that all my money will now be taxed away if AB goes away.  I just want to see who voted how.  

  2. that pointed me here:


    This is the alert, emphasis mine:

    Dear Colorado taxpayers,

    The endless crusade at the Capitol for ways to grow government and spend your tax dollars marches forward. Today, the State Senate approved SB228, a bill that has a singular purpose-unchecked growth of government spending.

    This comes at a time when the General Assembly has to trim nearly $1 billion from the state budget. In these difficult economic times, families and businesses are being forced to tighten their belts to make ends meet-and our state government should too. Yet politicians are now using our state and nation’s economic challenges as an excuse to do away with spending restraints and spend more of your tax dollars.

    We must work together to stop this bill so that the state’s current budget shortfall cannot be used as an excuse to increase government spending and weaken limits on the growth of government.  

    Colorado cannot afford to become the next California, with skyrocketing taxes that hurt our state’s economy and our quality of life. The time is now to make a stand. There can be no compromise when it comes to the endless growth of our state government.

    We have to put Taxpayers First!

      1. “Colorado can not afford to become the next California.”

        Of course they have no problem with having Colorado become the next Alabama or Mississippi by underfunding education and infrastructure…

        Wow! He even sounds like a Bush.

  3. The public is turning against Obama and the Democrats’ budget/bailout policies more and more every day.  One need only look at the firestorm over AIG today to see that the Democrats can’t shoot straight.

    1. is that the bonuses are in contracts that were in place when AIG signed on for bailout funds.

      Oh, yea- that was in 2008 during the Bush administration.

          1. contracts made before Feb. 11, 2009 to be honored was in fact added during a conference committee.  Just to prove a point, I’ll use


            SEN. CHRIS DODD, D-CONN.: The language that I wrote on executive compensation had no dates in it like this at all. When my language left the Senate, it did not include it. When it came back, it did.

            (END VIDEO CLIP)

            BRET BAIER, HOST: OK, so what’s this all about? It’s about a provision in the stimulus bill that’s called the Dodd amendment. After the conference committee met, the provision included a date, February 11, in which contracts that existed before that date – February 11, 2009 – would not be covered by the new restrictions.

            Now, from the

            Senate Republican Policy Committee

            The Dodd amendment is the result of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations with the Administration

            to provide the Secretary of the Treasury with the authority requested on September 19, 2008.

            Oh no!  For the first time ever the GOP bites itself in the ass!  

            There are plenty of people to point fingers at.  Why do people immediately expect their party to be perfect?  Especially Republicans, who are supposed to inherently distrust any government officials.

    2. for not being aggressive/populist enough in punishing corporate fraud.

      They don’t want the GOP/conservative solution-the people want an even more aggressive liberal solution.

  4. to Appropriations?  They know the majority party needs an election, or a drama queen, to flip, right?  Like maybe Approp. is the magical committee comprised solely of Republicans.

      1. Was that the fiscal note didn’t take into account affects the legislation may have had on Colorado’s bond rating. They argued that Appropriations should discuss that issue (once again) before they moved to a final floor vote in the body.

        To me, it seemed like this particular amendment was designed to delay the Approps. Cmte. vote until AFTER the Long Bill drops next week, or at least hold it up in the Senate until that point, so that there would be further delay before the House could take action.

        It looks like the House will slow down until after debate on the budget though, according to Rep. Marostica at the Capitol press event yesterday, so the attempt in and of itself seemed a little more futile than brilliant in retrospect.

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