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March 09, 2017 12:31 PM UTC

Get More Smarter on Thursday (March 9)

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  • by: Colorado Pols

Ask your boss if you can work outside this afternoon. Let’s go ahead and see if we can Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Colorado lawmakers are getting closer to approving legislation that would put a tax increase on the November ballot in order to fund necessary transportation infrastructure upgrades. As the Denver Business Journal reports:

Following eight months of negotiations, the Colorado Legislature’s leaders late Wednesday introduced a 20-year transportation-funding bill asking voters to approve a sales tax hike to generate some $677 million per year for highway and transit projects — without making significant cuts to existing state revenues.

Observers, including Gov. John Hickenlooper, quickly referred to House Bill 1242 as a starting point, saying they expect details about everything from the size of the tax hike, to the allocation of new revenues, to be up for debate in the two months that the Legislature has left in its 2017 session.

But House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, and state Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, both expressed gratitude at finding a compromise they believe can muster support of their two parties’ lawmakers before they take their case to voters.

We still have a couple of months of negotiating before any proposal moves toward the ballot, but this is a good sign that the Republican caucus has at least a few adults in the room who aren’t going to continue to pretend that we can finance major infrastructure projects with magic fairy dust and generic speeches about financial belt-tightening.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) held a telephone “town hall” meeting on Wednesday night that included a smackdown of President Trump’s plans for a border wall with Mexico. As Eli Stokols reports for Politico:

“We do need security on the border,” Gardner said. “That may mean personnel. It may mean a fence. That may mean an electronic fence,” the first-term lawmaker said. “But we shouldn’t just build a wall and add billions of dollars because that’s what somebody said should be done.” [Pols emphasis]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also scoffed Thursday morning at Trump’s claim that he will be able to get Mexico to pay for the wall.

“Uh, no,” McConnell said.

McConnell’s comments this morning about a proposed border wall are getting a lot of attention from national media outlets.

 

Trumpcare has passed two initial hurdles by limping through a couple of House committees, but Senate leaders continue to take a wait-and-see approach until cost and coverage estimates are available:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said lawmakers need to see the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of how the bill will affect the federal deficit.

“I think we need to know that,” McConnell said at a breakfast sponsored by Politico, adding that the CBO report could be released by Monday.

McConnell was the first in growing chorus of high-ranking Senate Republicans to question the wisdom of moving forward on the health bill without an official budget tally. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), whose committee will help craft a Senate response to the House legislation, told reporters on Thursday that he believes CBO score is a valuable tool.

The New York Times has more on Republican backlash to the Trumpcare proposal. Here in Colorado, the Bell Policy Institute outlines how Trumpcare would be a major problem for our state.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

► State Treasurer Walker Stapleton was the headliner of a scarcely-attended “term limits” rally at the State Capitol today. You’ve probably seen the advertisements for the event, part of a six-figure budget that the Denver Post calls a “shadow campaign” for Governor.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell, meanwhile, is a bit annoyed with Stapleton’s dark-money maneuvering:

► Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation are all over the map when it comes to Trumpcare. From the Denver Post:

The skepticism comes after a rocky few days for supporters of the GOP healthcare plan. Though it’s gotten some early positive reviews from GOP lawmakers such as U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman of Colorado, hardline conservatives and Democrats have blasted it from two different angles.

 

► Colorado House Republicans are floating the idea of a major change to how Colorado handles its annual budget process. From Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman:

House Republican leaders on Wednesday said the GOP caucus wants to “fundamentally change” the way the Legislature puts together the state’s annual budget, potentially by vastly diminishing the role of the powerful Joint Budget Committee and giving all the other committees more say.

Cautioning that the caucus he leads isn’t planning to introduce a proposal this session, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, told reporters that Republicans have been considering different ways to assemble a state budget and plan to “come up with a good solution” in the near future.

“I think we need to fundamentally change how we do the budget,” Neville said during a mid-session briefing in House chambers. “We’ve been discussing how we can actually change it. I think we have a problem when the JBC gets together and does a budget without having much input from the committees of reference and much otherwise input. It’s business as usual, the way we’ve been doing it.”

 

► At least it’s not your job to go through 144,000 pages of documents related to the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch.

 

► A regular commenter on Colorado Pols is being sued by an oil and gas company. Save Pete!

 

► Lookie here: A genuine case of voter fraud gets prosecuted in Colorado. And it’s a Republican who gets caught.

 

► Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to Russia? That’s…odd.

 

OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK

► Let us remember the time that Colorado Senate Republicans highlighted “International Women’s Day” with a video that only featured men. Not everyone handled the day this poorly.

 

► The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, reconfirmed that he does not believe the scientific consensus about Climate Change.

ICYMI

► At least he’s not the quarterback of the Broncos anymore.

Don’t forget to check out The Get More Smarter Show. You can also Get More Smarter by liking Colorado Pols on Facebook!

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