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July 27, 2009 10:15 PM UTC

Penry: I Would (Still) Reject Stimulus Funds

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Craig Daily Press reports:

“The worst part of the stimulus bill is not the $1 trillion it puts on top of the $13 trillion of debt already there, it is the evisceration of the states’ ability to control their own budgets,” he said. “We need governors to step back and say, ‘No, we don’t want your money. We’ll balance our own budgets.'”

Penry later added he would like to see a lot of the recovery funds go toward paying off the national debt instead of starting new government programs or bailing out state budgets.

He lumped Colorado in with the problem.

“The money included for transportation, I thought was a good investment,” Penry said. “The $800 million in bailouts (for Colorado), I don’t think future voters should be required to bailout bad budget decisions. I don’t think the federal government should bail out California for their mismanagement, and I don’t think Colorado is different.”

A week or so ago, the question came up as to whether Josh Penry’s comments earlier this year that he would reject stimulus funds would see some modification now that he’s actually running for Governor. We called this moment “where the ‘Tea Party’ rhetoric meets reality.”

Apparently, it hasn’t yet–maybe after the primary?


26 thoughts on “Penry: I Would (Still) Reject Stimulus Funds

    1. By the time 2011 rolls around, if he was elected Governor, there’s no way in hell Josh Penry would actually reject stimulus money coming in.

      Even if he actually did it, by January 2011 most of the money will have been spent.

      So it’s a great ploy to sell himself to GOP primary voters, but it’s totally disingenuous.  

      1. Yes, it’s grandstanding.  But it’s grandstanding when many workers being supported by stimulus dollars are thanking whatever forces they respect that they still have a job – thanks to the Feds.

        And yes, it’ll be mostly out of his control in 2011; but it will be very important through most of the campaign season.

        And, finally, as we’ve seen with the Mark Sanfords and Bobby Jindals of this nation, it’s all disingenuous – they’re all taking (and using) the funding that they didn’t want, and are bragging about the good things they’re doing with it…

        If he’s still preaching this sermon in mid-2010, he’s going to lose some normally conservative support from the construction industry…

      1. It’s kind of hard to drive any distance without seeing the Recovery Act signs at major highway construction sites.

        Or do you work in school (and other “industrial” building) repair?  Lots of money being spent to repair, improve or replace old schools and government buildings…

        Or maybe you’re in to home repair…  There’s money for you in energy improvement repairs.

        Did I somehow miss your area of expertise?

        1. Like the dozen or so people I know who have lost their jobs from companies who work in heavy highway, school construction etc. in the last two weeks….you do not work in this arena.

          1. At least sort of; I talk to clients every day in the construction industry.  I’m even insured through the Colorado Contractor’s Trust.

            Your argument is one big logical fallacy.  People losing jobs != no jobs being created.

            No-one said this economy was good.  People are losing jobs even in areas where the American Investment and Recovery Act is spending money.  And it’s very, very obvious that the Recovery Act is spending money.

            $404m is being spent in Colorado on Transportation projects.  $319m is being spent on “Other Education” spending, which includes school repair (and does not include “state stabilization” funding for normal educational spending…)  $130m is being spent in Colorado in Energy Efficiency grants/refunds.  $66m is being spent in water projects.  It also includes $103m for “Transit” projects for the state, possibly including FasTracks construction.

            Excluding the $319m in Education spending, because I don’t know how it breaks down, the Federal government is putting $703m into Colorado’s economy almost exclusively for construction work.  

          2. Then you’re either lazy or unqualified.

            Isn’t that the Republican meme?

            Oh, wait.  It’s incomplete.

            Find another chosen field.

            That almost completes the Republican meme.

            By the way, if you have time to post here, you aren’t looking hard enough for a job.

            Here’s the last part.  Illegal immigrants stealing your job from you?  Perhaps they are willing to work harder than you are.

  1. Why does the GOP rails against federal intrusion in regards to the stimulus but has no problem with “federal intrusion” into the laws that govern a woman’s right to choose, gun laws or religion?

    Intellectually dishonest at best.  John C. Calhoun (no sweety to be sure) is rolling over in his grave!

  2. Mr. Penry claims the federal government should not bail Colorado out for the bad budget decisions the state made. That is utter nonsense and he knows it. Colorado did not make bad budget decisions. First, the econonmy went in the tank last Fall and no one in Colorado state government had any control over it. Since Mr. Penry’s quote assumes they did, then as a candidate for governor, he should be able to answer a very simple question: As governor how would he control the economy to insure it never deteroriated?

    Second, since he isn’t, at least publicly, admitting the consequences of failing to accept the stimulus money let’s just go over one specific item. Without the stimulus money, Colorado would have been required to make massive cuts in the state budget on top of the ones we have already made, especially in higher education and transportation. Since he believes we should forego the stimulus money, Mr. Penry apparently supports huge increases in tuition to the tune of perhaps 30% in one year to keep our colleges and universities open.

    Third, he stated he believes the recovery funds should be spent paying off the national debt. Apparently he doesn’t understand that the stimulus funds are debt financed. Why would we borrow money to pay off the naitonsl debt. That accomplishes nothing.

    His statements are irresponsible and silly. Just think of laying off hundreds of college and university professors.  We wouldn’t be able to recapture and rebuild that knowledge base for years, perhaps decades, and in the meantime how would we educate our college eligible high school graduates.

    Mr. Penry thinks it is more important to worship at the alter of states rights than to lead our state into a bright future. He is not just headed in the wrong direction, he doesn’t even know which direction will lead Colorado into the future. At least he is showing us his true colors early on. He is just another one of those who believes our institutions, the ones we have nutured for over 200 years in this country, have no value just because they are public institutions. Undermining or failing to support our public institutions, like our colleges and universities, has severe and long lasting consequences. Cavalierly suggesting that we shouldn’t accept Colorado’s share of the stimulus funds without a coresponding and sober review of the consequences makes Mr. Penry an untrustworthy steward for Colorado’s future.  

    1. From the Craig Daily Press:

      “However, some legislators, inВ­В­cluding Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, who recently anВ­В­nounced his candidacy for governor in 2010, have criticized the fees because much of the state’s normal transportation funding through the general fund was cut off.

      Most of Sullivan’s recent correspondence has been from self-described conservatives and reiterate Penry’s concern or give thanks for her willingness to “stand up” so others could be heard.

      One such phone call was from Colorado Republicans Chairman Dick Wadhams.”

  3. Why doesn’t Penry say that he would have voted against the bill, but since Coloradans are paying for it, he would make sure as much as possible is spent in Colorado?  Surely no one really believes he would turn down Federal stimulus spending in the middle if a nasty recession do they?

    1. We need to take Mr. Penry at his word. He said he would turn it down unequivocally. Therefore, he needs to be held accountable for the consequences if Colorado turned down the money.

      I believe the reason he hasn’t addressed the consequences of turning down the stimulus money rests in the Republicans, including Mr. Penry’s, aversion to governing. If one delves into and discusses the consequences, then one has to actually discuss the impacts not just in terms of budgets and lost dollars, but in the far more important areas of policy and what such massive cuts would do to our transportaiton, K-12, and college and university systems. once that kind of discussion begins, turing down the stimulus money becomes a nonsensical position to take.

  4. Naturally, Senator Penry is putting the claim out there with the intention to make McInnis to respond, engaging the debate – similar to Holtzman and Beauprez over Ref C & D

    However, Senator Penry needs to tread carefully, considering that he was on the wrong side of the Penacol vote – a fiscal conservative Republican, like myself, would appreciate an apology for not voting against that bill, before we sincerely accept any other political statements regarding taxes from Senator Penry

  5. MAH – your facts seem to be a little off. Sen. Penry very much opposed both bills relating to Pinnacol and spoke out in opposition to both of them. He did, however, take a 17c on both votes (I’m sure that I don’t need to explain this to somebody who was a candidate for State House or is thinking about running for State Treasurer – but for those of you who don’t know, a 17c is a pass in the event of a potential conflict of interest). Sen. Penry works for a bank in Grand Junction that deals with Pinnacol, and thought it would be inappropriate to vote on those two bills – even as he was opposed to them.  Hope that helps.

    “The facts are stubborn things” – John Adams

    1. …and I apologize for misspelling Pinnacol…but as O’Reilly would say, “I’m not buying it”

      This is spin

      I believe Josh Penry also drives on I-70 – is it a conflict of interest to vote on bills that will help I-70? I’m sure Penry, or his relatives, have used hospital services in the past year – is it a conflict of interest for the good Senator to vote on Healthcare funding?

      Any Fiscal Conservative would’ve voted against the raiding of Pinnacol – if McInnis and his team are savvy, then this will be their top weapon against Penry in the primary

      1. I believe that Pinnacol funds were being raided so that money could be diverted to help higher education?

        Penry is held way too hostage to higher education – like in 2007, when he attempted to introduce a bill that would’ve diverted severance taxes from the Western Slope to higher education, continued with efforts to divert Pinnacol funds to higher education

        Penry needs to get off the higher education horse and get back on the Fiscal Conservative horse, especially if he wants to be a Republican leader

        If Penry apologizes for his ‘passing’ on the Pinnacol vote, then there’s a good shot I’ll endorse him and help his campaign – for now, I’m sitting out this primary….

  6. He would reject stimulus funds, but he didn’t reject his congressional staff funds? The taxpayers still split the bill.

    Way to put people out of work.

  7. …from free money for purely ideological reasons, then he would be a shitty Governor.

    There aren’t too many ways to spin that.

    You either care about the people of your state, or you care about partisan politics.  Penry doesn’t know the difference, therefore he’s not ready to govern.

  8. As a liberterian (small ‘l’), I can fully appreciate someone having serious reservations about the debt coming from the stimulus or how the money is being targeted and thus thinking it is lousy federal policy.

    But, from a state perspective, the federal government has piled so many unfunded mandates on the states over the years that you would be insane to turn down federal money. You can quibble about the stimulus all you want, but the federal government owes the states for their large role in pushing so many to the edge of bankruptcy.

  9. According to the Craig Daily Press, Mr. Penry spoke to 14 (yes, 2 more than a dozen) in deepest red Moffat County:

    However, he doesn’t think the state as a whole has a balanced perspective on energy development across the state, such as in the Roan Plateau and Vermillion Basin areas.

    Part of that problem, Penry said, comes back to Harris Sherman, Colorado DepartВ­ment of NatВ­ural Resources executive director.

    “It wouldn’t take me too long to ask the head of the DNR to head for greener pastures and take a new job,” Penry said. “It’s going to be a busy first day if I’m elected.”

    1-All of Roan Plateau’s public lands–100%, every single inch, trout stream, wildlife calving area, etc. was leased (some with No Surface Occupancy stipulations) for oil and gas development last August, one of Bush’s final western screw-jobs as he was heading back to Texas…that sounds like just the type of balance Penry likes–unless he thinks that the drill rigs should be built right on top of the trout streams rather than a couple of hundred of feet away.

    (10 environmental groups sued on the leases, and have been in settlement talks.  The status of those talks is unclear–but recent sale of the leases from the venture capital firm (Vantage) to the notorious drilling company Bill Barrett Corp., suggests that settlement talks may have stalled.  A court ruling could come at any time).

    2-There is a good chance that Mr. Sherman will move up, not out; he is apparently in the running for timber lobbyist  Undersecretary timber lobbyist Mark Rey’s former position at USDA (overseeing the Forest Service).

    Reportedly, President Obama is considering Harris Sherman, director of Colorado Dept. of Natural Resources, for the Undersecretary job. Environmental groups oppose Sherman. Meanwhile, broken national forest policies have kept the FS aimless, starved for funding, and spending half its budget on firefighting.

    Ironically (as noted in the quote) many national environmental groups are not happy with the rumors of Sherman taking the post overseeing the US Forest Service, primarily due to his role in the Bush-era state-specific rule making for Colorado’s national forests–which many groups believe would leave national forests here with less protections than in any other state.  Colorado’s conservation groups have been more circumspect–and readily acknowledge Sherman’s leadership in helping get the oil and gas regulations through the COGCC and legislature.  This, of course, is Penry’s primary beef: although in the Daily Press article he notes:

    Although Penry has opposed several parts of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation ComВ­mission’s new drilling regulations, he said Friday that some portions of the rules are good, such as noise restrictions and other quality of life protections for communities located near development.

    My take is that Penry is trying to contain the damage that could result from the several thousand angry constituents–promised a little Western Colorado retirement paradise in Battlement Mesa–have recently learned they will soon be living in the middle of an industrial area,

    Of course, Penry has to be careful, less he piss off his real con$tituent$.  So hey, if you can get those 14 people who turned out after your 3 hour (each way) trip to CraigAmerica, why not throw ’em a bone and promise a Eastern Slope head or two?  

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