Just What John Hickenlooper Wants: “Crash Tax” Back in National Headlines

Earlier this week Fox News' Ed Barnes featured a story, "Accident Victims Being Hit Again -- With 'Crash Taxes'." You know what I'm talking about, the ordinances adopted in some cities to impose fines on non-resident motorists for getting in an accident. It's become a growing trend nationally, as tax revenues have taken a hit during the current recession. As Barnes details, sometimes municipalities contract with debt collection services to go after accident victims for money: … [Read more...]

Will John Hickenlooper Answer Tough Questions on FasTracks Fabrication?

The Antiplanner blog -- experts on all things related to transportation -- has posted a question (several, really) for Democrat gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper to answer:Based on what we know today, including 40 percent cost overruns, revenue shortfalls, and the trivial amount of congestion relief that FasTracks is expected to provide, would you still have endorsed the 2004 FasTracks ballot measure? If so, then what are you going to do to make sure you are not again hoodwinked by bureaucrats who want to spend more tax dollars on future megaprojects? And if not, then who will you really represent: the voters, or the bureaucracies and special interest groups that want to take as much money as possible from those voters? Even nice … [Read more...]

Dan Haley: “Too bad voters can’t be trusted with…electing their leaders”

Denver Post editorial page editor Dan Haley and I at times certainly disagree. But one observation in his Sunday column deserves a hearty "Amen":Too bad voters can't be trusted with such matters as electing their leaders. At some point, party insiders need to shed their irrational fear of primaries and realize they can actually help candidates. What's at issue? Well, the sense of unity supposedly fostered by Republican leaders' new "Contract for Colorado" -- er, "Platform for Prosperity". The fact that it was drafted for the party's rank-and-file as a way to determine our candidate for us has not sat well. Especially without a grassroots escape clause. … [Read more...]

Poor Timing of FasTracks Tax Announcement Only Tip of Iceberg

It's kind of surreal to find these two headlines in the same edition of the Denver Post: Colo. jobless at 21-year high: "The unemployment rate hasn't been this high since April 1988, when it was at 6.7 percent. It is also higher than the 6.3 percent rate reached during the depths of the dot-com bust from 2001 to 2003." Doubling FasTracks sales tax gets nod: "On Wednesday, a majority of the Metro Mayors Caucus tentatively approved a plan to salvage FasTracks by asking voters for another 0.4 percent sales tax. The mayors, hoping to see the entire $6.9 billion expansion finished by 2017, are gambling that voters will maintain support for the project despite higher costs and some of the weakest economic conditions in the past … [Read more...]

Mark Hillman Elaborates on Democrat Shell Game at Colorado State Capitol

Yes, I pointed out to you the Democrat shell game (with your tax dollars, transportation projects, and social welfare spending) taking place at the State Capitol. But leave it to Mark Hillman to explain it more eloquently, and with greater depth and context. Here's the key section:If it sounds like Democrats are talking out of both sides of their mouths, it’s because they are - at least, so far. One day, they say our roads and bridges are unsafe and demand more money from Colorado drivers. The next day, they take a hatchet to transportation funding. Any sane person can be excused for wondering what they’re drinking or smoking at the state capitol. Sadly this is nothing new. Dating back to former Gov. Roy Romer, Democrats’ … [Read more...]

Democrats’ Anti-Taxpayer Shell Game Demands a Principled “Party of No”

The other half of Colorado Democrats' shell game rolled through the state senate last night - with one of the longest debates on a state legislative bill in recent memory. Senate Bill 228 would repeal the state general fund's 6 percent spending limit and allow additional funds to be diverted from transportation to pet government programs (now mainly supported by Democrats). It's the latest in a series of actions by Governor Bill Ritter to raise taxes and grow government without asking the people of Colorado first. So much for confidence in his own agenda. … [Read more...]

Democrats and Marostica: “Forget the Constitution, California, Here We Come”

When talking politics or economics, it's usually a powerful rhetorical tactic to compare our own Colorado to California - especially these days. In that light, here's a fitting and timely reminder from state senator Ted Harvey:The lesson Colorado’s legislators must learn from this recession is clear: fiscal responsibility works. Even though the legislature collectively fell short of creating a rainy day fund, TABOR and the Arveschoug-Bird 6% spending cap forced Colorado legislators to keep spending low. Had the government enjoyed free rein in ramping up spending – which is a great temptation to many lawmakers tasked with spending other people’s money – Colorado’s budget crisis would be as serious as California’s. [emphasis … [Read more...]

Rocky Mtn Alliance Blog Talk Radio at 8:30: Cory Gardner, Leondray Gholston

Tune in starting at 8:30 PM local Mountain Time this evening for the sure-to-be-lucky 13th edition of Rocky Mountain Alliance Blog Talk Radio. Tonight's scheduled guests are state representative Cory Gardner, a rising legislative star to talk about transportation and other issues at the State Capitol, and Leondray Gholston, Republican activist and candidate for Colorado state GOP vice-chair perhaps most well-known for his stirring speech at last year's State Assembly. Don't forget. If you miss the live broadcast of tonight’s show, you can go back and download the podcast, or just use the handy widget on my sidebar to listen directly from Mount Virtus. … [Read more...]

Colorado Democrats Working Hard to Become the Party of Toll Roads

Update, 8:50 PM: 19 Democrats voted for the taxes and tolls in the transportation bill. Lefties are in turmoil, with some angry that the Dems are responsible for passing a regressive tax. Yesterday I asked if Colorado Democrats would try to overreach in sticking taxpayers for state transportation costs. It didn't take long to see where the ruling party at the State Capitol stands. In a bizarre about-face, the Democrats decided to toss bipartisan compromise out the window to push a provision that would allow tolling on some of Colorado's busiest highways:Republicans and a handful of Democrats first voted to remove provisions allowing local authorities to toll existing roads. After a break in the debate, the bill sponsor and Democratic … [Read more...]