Homeowner, Insulate Thyself

Homeowner, Insulate Thyself

We've just come through one of Colorado's uncommon extended cold, gray, snowy spells. That beautiful sunshine poked through, then poured out, this morning. Temperatures rose above freezing, and with it my spirits rose. Sustained cold is not my friend. Being able to come inside to warmth -- efficient warmth that doesn't drain the pocketbook -- is not something to be taken for granted. Good insulation is the answer. Not only for the cold times, to save your heating bills. But also when the warm days come, and the rodents, spiders, and box elder bugs look to make themselves unwelcome visitors. But if you're going to do it, do it right. Do your research and get informed. Even if you live in Colorado, like I do, the value of a well … [Read more...]

Independent Foreclosure Reviews May Offer Better Chance Second Time Around

Independent Foreclosure Reviews May Offer Better Chance Second Time Around

Going through a home foreclosure often can be a painful and difficult experience. I feel blessed to say my family has never had to go through the process, though it did happen to the previous owners of the house where we currently live. Foreclosure must be hard enough if the event happened as a result of one's own poor decision-making, or as a result of unexpected, unfortunate circumstances. But it has to be even worse if someone was harmed and removed from their residence because of errors made by the bank or other lender. Who is held responsible when such an injustice occurs? Congress stepped in to try to solve the problem, particularly for those adversely affected during the height of the economic downturn in 2009 and 2010. Yet … [Read more...]

Amazon Fallout for Colorado Dems

Despite the best efforts of Colorado statehouse Democrats to turn around and point the fingers at the e-e-e-eeevil Amazon.com, they (with the exception of Sen. Gail Schwarz) are all responsible for paying no heed to the warnings and ultimately killing many small Colorado Internet businesses. Speaking of difficulty in taking responsibility, WhoSaidYouSaid has posted a YouTube video of Democrat state senate leader John Morse going ballistic at Amazon. Sadly, for the overwhelming majority of people whose businesses have been affected, this just doesn't ring true. Turning in his Kindle for an iPad is John Morse's prerogative. But venting at a business for following through on a rational decision caused by his own vote won't ease the pain … [Read more...]

Tell Colorado Legislators to Back off the Mary Kay Lady: Oppose HB 1248

Update, 3/2: Good news: HB 1248 is dead as a doornail. Three Democrats -- Daniel Kagan, Su Ryden, and Sal Pace -- crossed the aisle to help Republicans vote down the bill. Update, 1:15 PM: Walter in Denver effectively takes down HB 1248 -- a bad bill for Colorado's small business women -- here and here. This one may be a bit off topic for me, but it does have to do with potential overreach by the Colorado state legislature. It strikes home because the lovely Mrs. Virtus sells Mary Kay products as a business to supplement our household income. Representative Dianne Primavera's House Bill 1248, scheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee this afternoon, is an overreach that would have unnecessary negative effects on small … [Read more...]

All But One Colo. Democrat State Senator Enable Passage of Tax Hikes

Nine days ago I pointed out the number of vulnerable Colorado state house Democrats who voted to push through the "Dirty Dozen" tax hikes. Today it was the state senate's turn. Based on my recent projections, much of the voting activity makes sense. Take a quick look at today's Senate Journal, and what do you see? All Senate Republicans unanimously voted against each and every one of the tax hikes. Hooray for them. Too bad the Democrats have the majority and were able to pass all nine bills with either 18 (the bare minimum) or 19 votes. One Democrat running in a vulnerable seat voted No on all nine tax hike bills, giving her a singular distinction among the entire house and senate majority caucus: Sen. Gail Schwarz. You think this is … [Read more...]

Dem Priorities Fiddling with Tax Credits: Undercut, Don’t Empower, Families

Todd Engdahl at Ed News Colorado reported Friday on two educational tax credit bills (HB 1295 and HB 1296) being introduced in the legislature, and closed with this comment:While the proposals could make for interesting debate, they’re expected to fail for three reasons: 1) Democrats control the legislature, 2) the education lobby, and 3) most lawmakers don’t want to fiddle with school finance or tax credits when the state budget is in the tank. [emphasis added] The first two reasons are rather straightforward. Of course, Democrats don't want to devolve power from the education establishment. And of course, the iron triangle of CEA, CASE and CASB would oppose the slightest effort to grant authentic private school choice to taxpaying … [Read more...]

Colorado Democrats Dig Themselves Deeper on Dirty Dozen Tax Hikes

At this point, ramming through the Dirty Dozen tax hikes has Colorado Democrats in such political hot water, why not just go ahead and swim in it? That must be the reasoning behind the effort to make things even worse by changing the temporary tax hikes into permanent tax hikes. It used to be about half the bills would eventually reduce the respective tax rates to their current level. Not anymore:Republicans believe that Democrats are using the current budget crisis as an excuse to permanently raise taxes on Colorado families and businesses. “If the tax increases are only meant to help the state fill the budget gap, as Democrats claim, then why aren’t we making them all temporary?” asked Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield. Then … [Read more...]

Vulnerable Colo. House Democrats Push Through “Dirty Dozen” Tax Hikes

Update, 2/2: Americans for Tax Reform links back here. They have taken a real interest in "educating all those voting in the districts represented by the aforementioned lawmakers as to how they voted on this tax package during the 2010 campaign season." ATR's help is much appreciated. Saturday I highlighted the Democratic House seats in the Colorado state legislature most vulnerable in the upcoming election. Today the House voted (with a 37-27-1 Democratic majority) to approve eight of the "dirty dozen" tax hike bills on: Direct mail (1189); Candy and soft drinks (1191); Software downloads (1192); Online sales (1193); "Non-essential" food containers (1194); Insecticides, pesticides and bull semen (1195); Alternative fuel vehicles (1196); … [Read more...]

Stage Set for State Capitol Showdown on (Most of) Dirty Dozen Tax Hikes

Update: I'm not a big fan of the tax credits and exemptions per se. Some represent better policy than others. I would love to see a legislator propose an amendment that one or more of the tax credit revocations be offset by a general reduction to make it revenue-neutral. But since the Democrats' motivation with these "dirty dozen" bills is about scratching together more funds to help backfill the state budget, and not about creating a more equitable tax system with a minimal shared burden by businesses and consumers, I don't see the idea going anywhere. And that doesn't even bring us to the whole legal question of whether some or all of these bills violate TABOR in the state constitution because they raise taxes without a vote of the … [Read more...]

Tax on a Fee? Thank Bill Ritter, Diane Primavera and Colorado Democrats

Thanks to the Democrats in the state legislature, a new tire-waste disposal fee isn't good enough: You're also getting taxed on the fee! Yes, that's right. Check out the new report created by my Independence Institute colleague Todd Shepherd:Imagine paying for your new car tags, and the person behind the counter also assesses a sales tax on your total tag price. Or imagine paying a government toll on a highway, and sales tax is assessed to the toll as well. It may sound far-fetched, but when you purchase new tires, it's happening. … [Read more...]