Denver Post Exclusive: My Commentary on Big Labor in State Government

The Denver Post has put up my exclusive commentary on Gov. Bill Ritter's November executive order, which may soon end up unionizing two-thirds of state government. Here's a taste:Thanks to Gov. Bill Ritter's gold-plated invitation, union leaders are on the verge of taking a major role in state government. Taxpayers and dissenting workers should pay attention. Under the terms of Ritter's November 2 executive order, 30 percent of the affected workers in an occupational group have to express formal interest in a union "partnership" election. The Colorado WINS union coalition that formed four days after the order has collected enough signatures to hold five separate elections that could make it the "exclusive representative" of more than … [Read more...]

Colorado Civil Rights Initiative Seeks Fair Hearing in Traditional Media

Jessica Corry, the new executive director of the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative, has a Speakout column in today's Rocky Mountain News that clears up many of the charges made against the effort to eliminate government-sponsored discrimination:In 2007, when we first proposed our initiative language, our opponents challenged us all the way up to the Colorado Supreme Court. We won. In February, our opponents attempted to get a competing amendment onto the ballot. We won again after the state's Initiative Title Setting Review Board struck down their misleading and confusing language. On April Fool's Day, our opponents staged a widely covered press conference where dozens of activists falsely alleged that our signature gatherers had … [Read more...]

Barack Obama Campaign Meets Gordon Lightfoot (& Leo DiCaprio)

John Mark Reynolds (H/T Hugh Hewitt) has penned a clever parody of a classic ballad - here's an excerpt (you'll have to imagine your own guitar vocals, or if you're ambitious enough, record an MP3 in hopes of getting on Hewitt's program):Does any one know where the love of Gen Y goes When the press turns the minutes to hours? The pundits all say they’d have made Chesapeake Bay If they’d put Reverend Wright far behind him. They might have split up and so not have capsized; Instead he pressed on and took water. And all that remains is the faces and the names On the Internet lists he was compiling. As a son of Michigan, I know the original Gordon Lightfoot song well, respecting its peculiar and unforgettable blend of the … [Read more...]

Debunking “49th in education spending” Colorado Fallacy … Once Again

In a story about the new $18 billion state budget signed by Gov. Bill Ritter, a local Fox TV news station reporter stated:In education spending, the State of Colorado ranks 49th. Of course, this sentence is suspect from the start, because it doesn't tell us whether it's measuring higher education or K-12 education. If the article is referring to K-12 education, then it wasn't true two years ago, it wasn't true last year, and it isn't true this year, either. There are two reliable sources for K-12 education funding data. First, Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show Colorado ranks 36th in "current" per-pupil spending. The lowest possible ranking that could be devised shows Colorado at 47th in spending per $1,000 of personal … [Read more...]

Top 10 Ways Colorado Democrats Have Already Spent Your Stimulus Check

Live in Colorado and getting ready for your federal rebate stimulus check to arrive? Don't get too excited yet. Republican leaders in the state legislature have taken a Letterman-esque stab at letting you know what the Democrat majority has already done with your money:10. Higher auto premiums 9. Higher energy premiums 8. $25 marriage tax 7. Higher fees on everything from birth certificates to tire recycling 6. College tuition hikes for everyone! 5. Up to a $100 dollar car tax 4. Gov. Bill Ritter to an aide: “Recession? Hey, let’s go out and hire another 1,300 state employees!” 3. “…and let’s make sure they all have collective-bargaining … [Read more...]

Promote Worker Freedom for Colorado: Yes on Amendment 47

The Denver Post reports that the petition to bring Right-to-Work to Colorado has been certified for the November 2008 ballot. I laid out my case for supporting this idea a couple weeks ago. The specter of Right-to-Work was raised after a heated fight over House Bill 1072 early in 2007 - Gov. Bill Ritter shrewdly vetoed the Big Labor-sponsored legislation in hopes of restoring peace and order. But even last June, labor groups were working behind the scenes to forestall a possible Right-to-Work initiative. Two months later supporters introduced the initiative, leading us to today's certification - following the collection of well more than the required 67,000 signatures. But Right-to-Work (now known as Amendment 47) might not have … [Read more...]

Dem Debbie Benefield Seeks to Strip Charter School Funding “Because I Can”

Face The State reports:A bipartisan state legislative coalition killed an amendment late Tuesday to this year's School Finance Act that would have taken millions away from the state's charter schools. The amendment, proposed during House debate by Rep. Debbie Benefield, D-Arvada, would have cut funding for at-risk students by approximately $4.5 million. Benefield justified her amendment, telling the House she ran it "because I can," with her backers saying the amendment addressed concerns that the state's current funding formula does not properly define "at-risk." Benefield maintains that the current formula awards schools money disproportionate to the actual number of at-risk students they serve. It's at least good to see that … [Read more...]

Pueblo Chieftain: “We agree” with Clean Government Payroll Initiative

A ballot initiative proposed for the November 2008 Colorado ballot (and supported by the Independence Institute, where I work) has earned its third major newspaper endorsement, still more than six months out from the election. From the Pueblo Chieftain today:THE INDEPENDENCE Institute, a Golden-based think tank, is circulating petitions for a ballot initiative that would stop governmental agencies from collecting union dues from their employees. In 2001, then-Gov. Bill Owens signed an executive order that stopped the payroll deduction for unionized state employees. Soon after Bill Ritter’s election, the new governor issued a new executive order to resume the automatic deductions. Jon Caldera, president of Independence, says the … [Read more...]

Setting the Record Straight

I saw this post from The Colorado Index earlier in the week. Busy at the time, I just shook my head and moved on. But when Rossputin - the subject of the post - brought it to my attention again, I decided it was worthy of a quick response. A watcher is entitled to his opinions and to the manner of delivering those opinions, but a couple factual corrections are in order: 1. A watcher wrote: "'Blogger Extraordinaire' Ross Kaminsky - the self promoter who admits he doesn't read conservative Colorado blogs...." Fact: The implication behind the use of "Blogger Extraordinaire," which was used twice in this post, was that it was a title Ross chose for himself. In fact, it was the Samsphere promoters who devised and used the label. To my … [Read more...]

Blogger Protection Act of 2008

Over at Craig Sprout's Montana Politics site, Congressman Denny Rehberg explains why the Blogger Protection Act of 2008 is needed:Exempting Internet speech from FEC regulation was right thing to do, but the fight isn’t over. As easily as this rule was created in 2006, it can be removed by a new Administration. That’s why the Blogger Protection Act is necessary. It’s critical my House colleagues and I move quickly in making this protection permanent. This is something all bloggers can get behind, regardless of their political and philosophical orientation. … [Read more...]