Jan 28

Legislative Coffee event kicks off

As the Colorado 2015 Legislative Session moves into full-swing, Morgan County stakeholders will begin discussions with representatives.

Stakeholders started those discussions Monday with the first Legislative Coffee event. Representatives from area businesses, Morgan County Economic Development Corporation, Morgan Community College, Brush Chamber of Commerce, Fort Morgan Area Chamber of Commerce, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and the city of Fort Morgan attended the event Monday at Café Lotus.

The small group met with State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and State Rep. Jon Becker to discuss bills and matters at the state legislative session.

The Legislative Coffee event on Monday followed a less formal format than usual, Becker said.

“Sometimes it’s more formal where people stand up and present, but it’s still early in the session,” Becker said.

The group discussed matters regarding tax on medical marijuana, faster internet services in the eastern plains and Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Continue reading

Jan 24

Colorado House GOP upset after Democrats kill school funding bill

By Lynn Bartels
The Denver Post

POSTED:   01/23/2015

(Denver Post file photo)

A House Republican says he can’t understand why his bill to give more money for education was killed by Democrats even though it had the support of the teachers’ union, school boards and superintendents.

“My bill would have directed unexpected surplus revenue to our schools,” said Rep. Jon Becker of Fort Morgan. “I can’t think of a better investment than our kids’ futures.”

He pointed out there was no opposition Wednesday when he presented House Bill 1058 to the Finance Committee, where it died on a 6-5 party-line vote.

To read the rest of this article, click the following link:

Jan 23

Letter to the Editor: Taxes, taxes, taxes

Letter to the Editor:

Do the residents of Colorado work for the state government or does that government work for the citizen?

 If citizens work for the government, then government can charge the citizen any tax it wants to impose without restraint.

If the government works for the citizen, why can’t citizens decide what services they want to pay for?

TABOR is a law that limits the amount of taxes citizens are required to pay and in some cases requires the return of “surpluses” to the tax payer.

In effect, those who want to raise taxes must convince tax payers the added taxes are actually required.

Why is that bad?

Democrats in Denver want to reverse TABOR, as if it didn’t exist, and use the “surplus” for their purposes.

I think that if Democrats want to direct such “surplus” toward something other than what the law directs, they can set up a fund to allow those individuals who are so inclined to direct their “surplus” into that fund.

Thus the tax payer can determine if they get to spend or save their money instead of someone else spending it.

A note to Mike Littwin: check out Proposition 13 passed in California in 1978.

While not exactly like TABOR, Prop 13 limits raising property taxes thus protecting tax payers from unrestrained tax increases.

Steven P. Melcher

Pueblo West

– See more at: http://www.chieftain.com/opinion/3270685-120/taxes-tax-government-citizen#sthash.L4vM11iO.dpuf

Jan 22

Financing for Avon’s Skier Building rejected

AVON — The voters have had their say, and the Skier Building in Avon will not be purchased using “certificate of participation” bonds.

Of the 647 total ballots received in the special election, 418 came in against and 229 in favor of using the bonds according to totals issued by the town late Tuesday night.

Council members approved the idea to purchase the building for the purposes of relocating town hall there back in September, after negotiating a deal behind closed doors with Starwood, the building’s owner. The purchase price was found to be agreeable by both parties at $3.2 million.


The purchase method, however, was not found to be as agreeable to a group of voters in Avon who said it was against the spirit of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, approved by Colorado voters in 1992 in an effort to ensure public voting on large financing deals like the Skier Building. Certificate of participation bonds avoid the stipulations of TABOR by securing a large amount of money through a process of annual renewal, effectively making one 20-year loan into 20 one-year loans.

A referendum to overturn the decision to use certificate of participation bonds to purchase the building was put in place, led by Avon resident Dave Strandjord, who paid the attorney fees to ensure the language on the referendum did not contain any mistakes. Continue reading

Jan 21

Another clueless person who thinks we should keep on spending….

Another clueless person who thinks we should keep on spending….

RC Lloyd: Time for repeal of TABOR
Posted: 01/19/2015

As one ventures out to spend the soon-to-arrive Colorado tax refund checks, be certain to thank tax crusader, current Colorado Springs resident and former California lawyer Doug Bruce for his success in passing the TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights) amendment to the Colorado Constitution.
However, as your Michelins touch the ever-deteriorating roadways and you’re savoring that Starbuck’s latte, keep in mind how hamstrung state coffers are due to the lack of any rainy day protection written into this misguided piece of legislation. Time for a repeal.
RC Lloyd


Jan 19

House District 60 Rep. Jim Wilson: Getting down to business

Posted:   01/19/2015 02:28:32 PM MST

Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson


All the pomp, circumstance, speeches and hoopla are behind us and the task of legislating on behalf of the people is about to begin in earnest for the 70th General Assembly.

However, drama and subplots continue to weave their way through the fabric of the Chambers. Our Republican Caucus learned last week that our Assistant Minority Leader (Rep. Libby Szabo, R-Arvada) was stepping down to accept a position as a JeffCo County Commissioner. Her departure sets up a struggle for her vacated position between Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Littleton (currently the Minority Whip) and Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo (and maybe others – who knows…). Now the plot thickens — with Rep. Lawrence running for Assistant Minority Leader, the Whip position becomes open. To date, Rep. Tim Dore (R-Elizabeth) and Rep. Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs) have thrown their hats into the ring. Just when we thought the campaigning was over…

The other side of the aisle is not without its own political maneuvering as the session opens. Strategies are already under way to recapture seats lost in the 2014 election. As an example, former Rep. Jenice May (D-Aurora) lost to Rep. JoAnn Windholz (R-Commerce City) by just more than 100 votes. Miraculously, former Rep. May is back on the House floor for the session as an “advisor” to House Speaker Hullinghorst (D-Boulder)! An interesting strategy to strengthen former Rep. May’s resume for a possible run at Rep. Windholz’s seat in 2016. And the beat goes on…

Brace yourself to be bombarded by a flood of acronyms this session. One of the “biggies” will be TABOR – the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

Continue reading

Jan 16

Cadman applauds Hickenlooper’s conciliatory tone in state address

Yet Hickenlooper’s broad discussion of several issues facing the state – a speech that often did not bring up his own agenda – might have been purposeful. Unlike previous years, Hickenlooper refrained from calling out specific legislators or issues, a sign that he might be encouraging the split legislative body to work together, said Sen. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, the newly appointed Senate president.

“I think what was interesting about this speech, as opposed to many others that I have heard, (was that) he talked in such broad categories that I think what he was really doing was inviting everybody to the table to discuss them,” Cadman said.

Hickenlooper was careful to call attention to elected leaders from the Republican Party in the House chamber, among them Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, who the governor credited as being one of the driving forces behind a program that brings independent contractors to Colorado communities.

“This further demonstrates that no one party has all the good ideas,” Hickenlooper said of Bach, a Republican, who was in the audience.

Continue reading

Jan 16

Hedges: The Colorado Conundrum

Hedges: The Colorado Conundrum

Perhaps you’ve heard of the “Colorado Paradox,” the fact that our state is one of the most educated in the country – but mainly because educated people from elsewhere move here.

Have you, though, heard of the “Colorado Conundrum”?
This is a situation wherein Colorado, a state with one of the fastest-growing economies in the country and among the lowest unemployment rates, will still find itself unable to restore funding to K-12 education and colleges cut during the Great Recession or fix its crumbling roads. It’s a situation wherein state revenues will see a gangbusters resurgence, but the state will simply have to hand back the money to taxpayers rather than being able to give back to taxpayers the services they enjoyed before the recession.

In short, despite having plenty of water, we’ll be turning off the firehose while the house is still in flames.

Despite hosting one of the fastest-growing economies in the country and one of the lowest unemployment rates, Colorado, will find itself unable to restore funding to K-12 education and colleges cut during the Great Recession or fix its crumbling roads.

Continue reading

Jan 16

Americans for Prosperity releases 2015 legislative agenda, and it’s a doozy

Do not expand Medicaid. Roll back renewable energy requirements. Thwart the EPA’s regulation of coal-fired power plants. Let charter schools run amok. Reform the tax code.

This is the 2015 legislative agenda released this morning by Americans for Prosperity, North Carolina a far-right advocacy group, one that would  “improve economic freedom and personal wellbeing.”   AFPNC-Legislative-Agenda.pdf

Whose economic freedom and personal wellbeing? Probably not yours.

AFP, whose backers include Art Pope and his various foundations, also supports Taxpayer Bill of Rights, otherwise known as TABOR. By appropriating the name “Bill of Rights,” from the U.S. Constitution, AFP wants to fool you into thinking TABOR will somehow stand between you and tyranny. Not so. Continue reading

Jan 15

Don’t punish taxpayers for prosperity

Mark Hillman, 15 January 2015

Colorado’s economy has shown remarkable resiliency in the wake of the Great Recession.

Unemployment has steadily fallen from a high of 9.6% in 2010 to an estimated 4.1% in November 2014.

Income indicators roared past pre-recession levels and now both wages and salary and per capita income are significantly higher.

In the past five years, taxes and fees paid by Coloradans to their state government have grown by 43% from $8.5 billion to an estimated $12.3 billion in the current year.

And next year, state revenue could surpass the state’s spending limit for the first time in 15 years, triggering a modest rebate to taxpayers of $116 million or 0.4% of next year’s state budget.

But those in the Government Always Needs More Money Choir just can’t stand this prosperity. They are howling that that this modest refund – and perhaps future refunds, if the economy continues to grow – are somehow strangling our state government.

Remember, these rebates to taxpayers were approved by voters in the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) – the same law that requires a public vote on tax increases. Politicians and “the spending lobby” had resisted such limits for years.

Thirteen years after TABOR passed, voters approved Referendum C to correct the one obvious flaw in TABOR by allowing state government spending to rebound as the economy recovers from a recession. Continue reading