I was taken aback yesterday when I read this Grand Junction Sentinel column that sure made it sound like Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes favored a lack of transparency in public utilities rate disclosure. Both a Rocky Mountain Right diarist and fellow RMA/PPC blogger Don Johnson jumped over the comments to assail Maes’ views.
I called Dan Maes this morning to get some important clarification. Below are my three questions and his brief answers:
Mt Virtus: Do you feel you were quoted fairly and accurately in the Sentinel interview?
We’ll just say that my statements were misrepresented. We talked about citizen initiatives and specifically about one of them removing telecommunication taxes and vehicle registrations [Proposition 101]. It started with the initiatives. I said I was in favor of removing the taxes & fees, not hiding them or rolling them in….
As a businessman, I see itemizing fees as an annoyance, so I tend to roll everything into a single cost. Then he assumed that as a businessman if I roll in all the taxes and hide them, that’s what I would do with utility bills.
Mt Virtus: So you see a distinction between private businesses itemizing their bills for customers and the Public Utilities Commission doing so?
Absolutely. I more than understand the difference between government and business, and I would never attempt to hide taxes and fees on public utility bills.
Mt Virtus: What are Dan Maes’ basic views on government transparency, especially as it relates to budgets and spending?
I will take state government spending to the highest level of transparency that Colorado has ever seen. And I’m already doing that with my calendar being completely transparent to every Coloradan to see where I go and what I do, as is every contribution and every expenditure.
I still remain neutral in the governors’ race, but I do greatly appreciate the highest level of clarity in the discussion of issues, and specifically in this case the availability and openness of Maes in responding to my inquiry. You make the call.