Shenanigans, pure shenanigans is what I see going on down on Colfax Avenue at Colorado’s golden dome. Those few brave souls that try to do what is right and correct for the state’s population are to be commended. Those that do otherwise need to be tarred and feathered, chained to a log and tossed into the South Platte River. What with the run off beginning, they might make it all the way to New Orleans where their politics and sense of ethics would be more the norm. To that end, I’m posting an informative email that I received from one of the people that is taking the heat by standing firm for his beliefs.
The final version of the budget passed the House and Senate last week. It was one of the most controversial bills of the session, forcing legislators to make a choice between true fiscal responsibility and the temptation of big government.
In spite of the doomsday proclamations you may have heard about budget shortfalls in Colorado, the Democrats managed to pass a budget that increased spending by about 4% over last year.
Colorado fell about $850 million short of projected tax revenues this year. The Democrats’ original plan to fill the gap was to increase fees on everything from car registration to hospital stays and to seize $500 million from a private insurance company. Shortly after the Senate approved the seizure, Governor Ritter and the Democrats were forced to accept the fact that his plan was illegal and doomed to failure.
The House then had to rewrite the $17.9 billion budget to make up for the $500 million gap. The Democrats relied primarily on gimmicks to fill the gap: adding a new tax to vending machine sales, diverting cigarette tax revenues from anti-smoking campaigns to state coffers, repealing several tax breaks, and furloughing state employees for eight days next year.
While making small, temporary cuts is certainly preferable to Communist-style nationalization, this approach does nothing to address the fundamental budget problems in Colorado: our government has grown too big, too fast.
The Democrat notion of fiscal management consists of growing the size of government as quickly as possible: they managed to add 200 new employees to the state payroll this year in spite of the recession. To avoid making tough choices, they have drained cash funds, used creative accounting practices, and sidestepped TABOR to raise taxes again and again without voter approval.
Colorado needs to return to fiscal responsibility and adjust spending to meet revenues, reassess the size of government, and live up to the spirit of the law and ask voters before increasing their taxes. The Democrat-controlled legislature has dug itself into a deep fiscal hole. I sincerely hope that the economy bounces back quickly so that Coloradans will not be forced to pay for their irresponsibility.
The legislative session will end next week, and I am still fighting a repeal of the death penalty, more tax and “fee” increases, forced unionization of public employees, and a proposal to abolish the Electoral College. I’ll keep you updated.