Bill Ritter, Tax Increases, Unions, and the Colorado Supreme Court

With a little shameless self-promotion, I tie it all together on the longest day of the calendar year.

First, news broke earlier this week that Gov. Bill Ritter has done the inevitable, by agreeing to appeal a district court ruling that came to the clear and appropriate conclusion that Ritter erred in raising school property taxes without voter permission. Sure, I could link to lots of articles that highlight this news, but only the one in the Denver Daily News quotes the author of this blog:

“I believe the district court judge did the right thing by recognizing that Colorado voters should be asked before they endure a tax increase,” said Ben DeGrow, a policy analyst at the Independence Institute. “It’s simply a matter of honoring the state constitution.”

Don’t take my word for it. The Attorney General came to the same conclusion. The only response from the governor’s spokesman?:

But Ritter’s office believes the case is more complex than how the Independence Institute sees it.

“It’s a complex case,” said Evan Dreyer, Ritter’s spokesman. “The supreme court is a more proper venue for a full airing on a constitutional issue like this.” [Link Added]

With supreme court decisions like the one highlighted in my op-ed in today’s Greeley Tribune, you can understand the confidence of our Democrat governor:

Teachers unions and other labor groups do not deserve special treatment under our state’s election laws, even if some judges seem determined to give it to them.

On May 19, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that unions could spend member dues money to provide free services to partisan political campaigns.

My reasoning in the op-ed is better developed, but the conclusion is roughly the same as my initial reaction to the outrageous 5-2 ruling in Rutt v Poudre Education Association:

The state supreme court has just sent a clear signal that it’s okay for Big Labor to coordinate with (overwhelmingly Democrat) political candidates, allowing their campaigns to outsource the cost of electioneering activities to be covered by general union dues collected from members.

More clearly than ever, unions are on the advance in Colorado – and this time at the expense of fair elections and individual rights….

The other thing in common between these two issues? Both are intricately tied into the debate about public education, but actually have nothing to do with education per se: Bill Ritter’s “Colorado Children’s Amendment” property tax hike that guarantees no money for schools, and a labor union built around public education tax dollars with a tilted electoral advantage over the taxpayers who fund the system.

Good thing summertime is here, giving opportunity for longer and more sustained outdoor mental health breaks. Speaking of which, thankfully the weekend is almost here.

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