Posts Tagged ‘Bill Ritter’

Gun Laws and Colorado plus Rampart Range

January 31, 2010

COLORADO: Pro-Gun Bills Await Action in Denver
Two crucial pieces of legislation are currently waiting to be heard in the Colorado State Legislature.  Emergency Powers legislation (SB 51)is currently awaiting action in the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.  This bill would remove the Governor’s ability to “suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation” of firearms during a declared state of emergency.  Currently scheduled for a hearing is HB 1094, which guarantee your right to self-defense in the workplace.   It is important that you contact the members of the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee and urge them to protect the rights of lawful gun owners during states of emergency by setting a hearing date for Senate Bill 51.  Also, please contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee and respectfully urge them to support HB 1094. Contact information for both committees can be found here.

Governor Bill Ritter Pushing Unconstitutional Gun Tax!
On Thursday, January 21, Governor Bill Ritter’s (D) unconstitutional gun tax proposal hit a roadblock when members of the Joint Budget Committee openly stated that they would not support it. Representative Kent Lambert (R-14) and Senator Al White (R-8) objected to imposing the proposed fee on the constitutional rights of Coloradans, likening it to a poll tax.

The proposal would charge gun buyers a $10.50 fee to pay for state-mandated background checks. The Colorado Joint Budget Committee (JBC) typically submits a budget bill with consensus among its members, but it’s unlikely the “gun tax” will win such favor in the JBC.  This would strike a major blow to the onerous proposal.  The state background checks, conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, were mandated in 1998.  At the time, lawmakers assured gun owners that the state would fund these checks because the National Instant Background Check System is free. At this time, the proposal for the state budget bill is still under consideration and has yet to be introduced in the Colorado State Legislature.

Governor Ritter’s proposal is a blatant attack on our Second Amendment rights and NRA-ILA will continue to monitor state budget debates to ensure this proposal doesn’t advance.  Please be sure to check your e-mail and for future updates.

Colorado State University Seeking to Outlaw Concealed Carry on Campus
On Wednesday, January 20, Colorado State University (CSU) formally announced a draft proposal to prohibit firearms on all CSU campuses. Exempt from the ban would be firearms used by law enforcement and military personnel and by the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. This draft policy will be brought up for consideration at the CSU Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday, February 23. A copy of the draft can be found at It is important that Colorado’s NRA members tell CSU’s President that the policy must uphold Colorado law and allow permit holders to carry concealed handguns for self-defense.  Please contact President Tony Frank TODAY by phone at 970-491-6211 or e-mail and respectfully urge him to comply with Colorado law.

Support Needed to Re-Open Rampart Shooting Range!
Following an accidental shooting last July, the Forest Service closed the very popular and heavily used Rampart Shooting Range on the Pike National Forest.  In its nearly 20 year history, Rampart had never before experienced a shooting-related injury or fatality.   Rampart is the only free public range in El Paso County and receives 40,000 visitors a year.  The Service called the closure a “time-out” in order to assess whether the design of the range was a factor.  An investigation determined that the range was not a factor in the accident.  Safety experts have said that the accident could have happened at any range.  But after it closed Rampart, the Forest Service devised a scheme to keep the range closed permanently.

The Forest Service has listed requirements that must be met before it will reopen Rampart.  There is no timetable for meeting these requirements and likely no money to cover costs.  The most significant issue is the requirement of full time supervision.  Most ranges on federal lands operate without supervision and this requirement could place all such ranges in jeopardy.  Rampart Range is in need of improvements which were identified more than two years ago.  Such improvements can be addressed and implemented with the range reopened.  The Forest Service has said that it could take up to five years before Rampart is reopened, but there is no guarantee that it would reopen Rampart in that timeframe or at any time in the future.

NRA has been working to get Rampart Range reopened since the day it was closed, but we need the help of Colorado hunters and shooters to show the Forest Service and your elected officials that the federal government cannot continue to close public lands to recreational shooting, and certainly not without replacing those areas lost with other areas of the same or great value.  Rampart Shooting Range is an important resource for the shooting community along the Front Range.  There is no incentive for the Forest Service to reopen Rampart unless the shooting sports community demands it!

Shooting ranges on public lands are few and far between in Colorado.  In addition to the closure of Rampart, the Forest Service has closed its lands to recreational shooting near Boulder and on the Pawnee Grasslands, and large acreage closures have occurred west of Sedalia.  The Forest Service is not planning for recreational shooting.  Closures are imposed without opening new areas and needed improvements to existing areas, including the Rampart Shooting Range, have not been made.  Recreational shooting is not being treated by the Forest Service in Colorado as a legitimate and valued recreational activity on forest lands.

Please send an e-mail in support of the immediate reopening of Rampart to:

Tom Tidwell, Chief of the Forest Service, at, and copy your letter to:

Senator Mark Udall at,
Senator Michael Bennet at,
Congressman Doug Lamborn at, and
Governor Bill Ritter by clicking here.

Please stress that keeping the range closed is not supportable by the investigative report; that the closure has robbed the shooting community of a valuable resource; and that needed improvements to the range can be planned and implemented without closure.


Jon, the baptist…

December 10, 2009

Okay,the debate rages on… is,  Jon Caldara the new John the Baptist? I would contend that, in fact, he is not! Jon, after all does double bend overs that incite lust among the female staff at The Independence Institute!

Read on…

Beware! Evil Lurks in Teachers Refunds: Those of us who are not bleeding heart, emotional hippies are used to being called names: selfish, mean spirited, malicious, greedy and sometimes even, Jon Caldara. So it comes as no surprise that the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) president calls us “sinister” in a recent letter to his members. An excerpt from the letter,

“Dear DCTA member, BEWARE: You may have gotten a letter from the Independence Institute explaining how you can drop your Every Member Option (EMO) contribution to DCTA/CEA. It reads like a public service message telling you how to save money. But the motives behind the message are much more sinister.”

Well, I’m sorry unions. I’m a sinister kind of guy. therefore I am going to provide some resources to the teachers of Colorado, so that they might learn how to obtain the EMO refund, which can be up to $63. Along with our Independent Teachers website that houses a boatload of information on the refund, we made a video and recorded a podcast discussing the finer points of the refund. I think we’ve taken sinister to a whole new level.

Second Amendment Royalty on Wow, I’m still in awe. I just finished listening to this epic podcast with Dave Kopel interviewing none other than Alan Gura himself! Or as Dave refers to Mr. Gura, “the Luke Skywalker of the Second Amendment.” Gura is the man behind the DC v. Heller Supreme court gun rights victory. Now Mr. Gura is taking on the new McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court case. This case will decide whether the Second Amendment is enforceable at the state and local level via the 14th Amendment. In other words, this case is hugely important! Give a listen here.

Northern Colorado Invasion: Our transparency super-star Amy Oliver-Cooke is leading the invasion of Northern Colorado in the battle of ideas. Check her out this week in the Fort Collins Coloradoan as she lays out the “unimaginative failure” of Colorado’s Long Term Fiscal Stability commission.

Kopelization: If you support the Second Amendment and the right of self-defense, then you definitely don’t want to miss Research Director Dave Kopel’s newest book, Aiming for Liberty: The past, present and future of freedom and self-defense. The perfect stocking stuffer for the true civil libertarian.

Oh Canada: Our recent trip to Canada in search of real people with real stories of Canada’s version of Obama Care inspired this video on Obama Care and medical innovation, with a special shout out to us. Well, the good folks at reason have put out yet another video including footage shot at our Canada trip. Check out this heartbreaking story of Canadian citizen Cheryl Baxter’s nightmare experience with Canada’s single payer health care system, and how she finally got the surgery she needed here in the states. It also includes some great insight from our friends up north at the Fraser Institute.

Must Hear Podcast: The transition for the Denver school board was going to be tough enough, but then newly elected Andrea Merida took things to a whole new level when she decided to be sworn in early and bounced off outgoing board member Michelle Moss just before key votes on the district’s reform plan were made. Over at, Education News Colorado editor, and eye witness, Alan Gottlieb joins Ben DeGrow to recount the dramatic confrontation and discusses what might be in store from the DPS Board in the future.

Check it out here.

Must See TV: On This week’s Independent Thinking, Colorado State Senator Ted Harvey and Kevin Miller from the National Freedom Initiative join me to talk about the conflict between social conservatives and the freedom movement, or as Kevin puts it, “Freedom nationally, virtue locally.” Tune in this Friday night at 8:30 p.m. to KBDI Channel 12; repeated the following Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Perspective: In this week’s op-ed, Jessica Peck-Corry suggests that Governor Ritter “should write a guidebook on how to buy a top post in his administration.” She’s talking about the Governor’s Energy Office.

Money quote from the piece: “Ritter’s defenders may believe that global warming represents a universal concern that should be held above the political fray. But talk to the residents of western Colorado, many of whom are out-of-work energy workers displaced by the toxic mix of a faltering economy and anti-energy public policy.”

Check out the whole thing here.

Until next week…

Straight on

Jon Caldara

Ritters Gun Tax: unalienable right to be taxed

August 19, 2009

Someday I will understand the whole “permit” and “taxing” or “fees” for unalienable rights by governments large and small.

Please don’t misunderstand me. As I do support the various taxes on fishing and hunting gear that support the sports. But back door registration schemes as taxes..? Read on, and contact your Colorado State representatives.

Click here to sign our Petition against Ritter’s Gun Tax!

Though this idea has been rejected by both Republican and Democrat controlled legislatures, Ritter now claims it will bring $500 million to state coffers.
“The Governor’s office is using estimates for firearms purchases based on recent purchase numbers, and it highly inflates the number,” said the Dudley Brown, the Executive Director of the largest pro-gun organization in Colorado, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.  Since the election of Barack Obama the number of firearms sales have skyrocketed across the nation.
“But even with a smaller number, he’s forcing citizens who practice a constitutionally protected right to pay a tax first, much like the old Jim Crow laws,” said Brown.  “We don’t believe gun owners should have to ask permission to buy a firearm in the first place, and we’re now supposed to pay for their gun control?”
Colorado uses a “Baby Brady” Registration system system to check purchasers’ backgrounds.  This puts gun owners in double jeopardy, since they must go through the FBI check as well as that of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.  If Colorado’s Brady Act was repealed, the FBI would conduct Brady Registration Checks, which wouldn’t cost Colorado citizens and would shorten the wait time to 30 seconds — as opposed to CBI checks, which often take hours.
“Now, Governor Ritter wants to put a tax on that registration as well.  He might just as well repeal our State Constitution’s protections,” said Brown, “since they don’t seem to matter to him.”
Colorado’s Brady Act was passed in 2000 under a Republican-controlled legislature and Governor.

Click here to sign our Petition against Ritter’s Gun Tax!

Forward email

Bill Ritter 180 sanity revisited?

July 3, 2009

What does it take to restore fiscal sanity when RINO’s and Democrats get a free hand with tax and spend policy? Colorado has over the past few years been somewhat protected by The Taxpayer Bill of Rights, more commonly known by the acronym TABOR. This past session of the legislature saw TABOR pretty much gutted. It also saw the advent of special interest legislation reaching new heights of recklessness. Not to even bother mentioning the use of “fees” to circumvent TABOR restrictions. Before leaving Colorado I briefly thought of using the initiative process to re-define the word taxation in that any charge by government at any level would be deemed a “tax.” That went nowhere. Now, the Colorado legislature, and the state of Colorado are also going nowhere. I have often had disagreements with Governor Bill Ritter about issues that span the entire realm of politics. Now, in a perfect example of broken clock economics the Governor like a broken clock that exhibits the correct time twice on a daily basis he get’s the correct answer.

Hat tip, and thanks to Senator Ted Harvey for this.

For Immediate Release                                         Contact: Ted Harvey

Bill Ritter 180

The day has come.  The numbers are in.  With only one week remaining in the 08/09 fiscal year, the Colorado budget is $250 million in the red.  Once again Governor Ritter and the Democrat legislative leadership misjudged the depth of our economic downturn.  Despite Republican warnings and objections during the last legislative session, the Democrats chose to approve the largest budget in state history.

At a time when small businesses were cutting budgets, reducing expenses, laying off staff or closing their doors altogether, the Democrat legislature grew the Colorado budget by 4% more than the previous year and hired 250 new employees.
While Colorado families were struggling through these tough economic times, the Democrats increased taxes and fees on all Coloradoans by $1 billion, raided the state’s trust funds and emergency reserves – and even tried unsuccessfully to seize $500 million in assets from the Pinnacol Assurance Company, Colorado’s largest provider of workers compensation insurance.  They also took advantage of their majority to remove the 6% spending cap that has controlled government growth for over three decades – a mechanism that has protected Colorado from the kind of out-of-control spending that has pushed states like California to the brink of bankruptcy.

Adding insult to injury, last month the Democrats handed out $30,000 in staff bonuses and spent nearly $4,000 in public funds on a “team-building” retreat.
The 2009 legislative session was a prime example of unchecked Democrat power on parade.

When actual revenues came in $250 million short of expectations, one would have expected Colorado taxpayers to receive an apology from the Governor and the Democrat leadership for their fiscal mismanagement.  Sadly, there were no apologies. Instead, taxpayers were treated to another serving of the Democrats’ brand of faith-based budgeting.

On the day the actual budget numbers came out, the Governor held a press conference explaining that the state would balance the $250 million shortfall by utilizing federal stimulus funding and pushing off payment of the state’s payroll from June 30 (the last day of 2008-2009 fiscal year), until July 1 (the first day of the new fiscal year).  Of course the only thing this did was add $250 million to the already anticipated $140 million shortfall for the new fiscal year-making the state $390 million in the hole from day one! This was simply Enron bookkeeping to avoid making the tough choices and leaving Colorado taxpayers to pick up the tab.
The Governor then rebuffed any media questions regarding an immediate special legislative session to balance our growing deficit.  He continued to insist that the problem could wait until the legislature reconvened in January.  Unfortunately, the Governor failed to admit that delaying for another six months until the start of the 2010 session would only magnify the impact any impending cuts would have on the state budget.

Sadly, the Democrat legislative response was no better.  The only suggestion from the Chairman of the Joint Budget Committee was to extend a property tax increase on senior citizens for another year, and remove tax credits from business owners.
The truth is, on the Day of Reckoning, when the actual budget numbers came out, our Colorado Democrat leadership revealed their true soul and proved once and for all that they were incapable of cutting even one government service or one state employee.

Predictably, the public was outraged.  The lack of Democrat leadership was undeniable.  Faced with an economic reality and voter rebellion, Governor Ritter quickly realized that it was time for government to tighten its belt.
On Thursday, only two days after his initial response, the Governor held another press conference…one that I have dubbed “Bill Ritter 180.”  Surprisingly, he announced what Republicans had been demanding for over two years, that he was directing each of his department heads to review their budgets and cut 10% across the board.  Hallelujah, the leader of our state finally showed leadership! And may God bless him for it. He may have just saved our great state from following California’s lead…straight off the cliff.
Indeed it has been our Republican legislators who have led the charge for fiscal sanity over the last 24 months while pushing for across-the-board cuts…but this week we must give credit to whom credit is due.  Bill Ritter has finally taken a stand and come out against many members of his own party.  Good for him and good for Colorado!
For more information on Senator Ted Harvey please visit his website at


December 31, 2008

People simply cannot say that they were not warned. From the Independence Institute to Gunny Bob the warning was sent out loud and clear.

Gov. Bill Ritter’s office now says its economists used outdated information and underestimated the size of the budget shortfall that Colorado is facing this year.

The new forecast from Ritter’s budget office puts the shortfall in the current fiscal year ending in June at $230 million — more than three times the $70.2 million the governor’s office forecast on Dec. 19. A forecast from legislative staff put the shortfall at $604 million, and the two offices agreed to sit down and go over their calculations together.

Evan Dreyer, a spokesman for the Democratic governor, said a major difference in the forecasts from the two offices was in how they projected revenue from capital-gains taxes levied on the sale of securities or property.

“They (legislative staff) were utilizing a more current data source for their capital-gains projections,” Dreyer said, saying that information came from the Internal Revenue Service while Ritter’s office was relying on older information from the Colorado Department of Revenue.

“We adjusted accordingly,” Dreyer said. “That said, we are going to make every contingency necessary to achieve even deeper cuts if we need to.”

Ritter now is asking state agencies to submit proposals to cut their budgets by 10 percent in the next fiscal year, which starts in July. He had already asked departments to show how they could cut 2.5 percent from their budgets in the current fiscal year.

Even after the revisions from Ritter’s office, there is still a nearly $400 million difference between the executive and legislative branches in their visions of how bad the current year will be.

Dreyer said there are still differences between the offices in how they project revenue from sales tax as well as corporate and personal income taxes.

“Forecasting is an extremely difficult job, even in the best of times, and this is an unprecedented bad time,” Dreyer said, adding that economists had not done anything wrong.

“For the past several months, we have been adjusting the budget and creating the necessary flexibility to keep the budget balanced,” he said. “Regardless of the differing forecasts, we will work together with the legislature to continue prudently managing the budget.”

For members of the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee, whose job it will be to slash spending, the difference in the forecasts is unsettling.

“From a budgeting standpoint, it leaves us as a legislative body the difficult task of deciding which scenario — and we’ll probably be cautious and use the worst scenario — to balance our budget for the current year,” said Sen. Moe Keller, D-Wheat Ridge.

Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, another member of the panel, agreed.

“We are tasked with picking a lane here, and we’ve got two different road maps that have drastically different destinations,” White said. “We can only take the most conservative one because therein lies the least danger.


Amendment 46 and Gov. Ritter

October 2, 2008

Bill Ritter gets it wrong yet again. Treating one group of people differently than another is not a moral thing to do, and using the power of the state to enforce laws that do that very thing is immorale.

DENVER – Gov. Bill Ritter announced his opposition to a ballot measure that would ban affirmative action in the awarding of state contracts, employment and admission to Colorado universities, calling it a California import that doesn’t fit Colorado.

Ritter on Monday said Amendment 46 would destroy years of progress in education, health care and work force development. Supporters say affirmative action based on race and gender is no longer needed.

Amendment 46 is similar to initiatives bankrolled by former University of California regent Ward Connerly and approved by voters in California, Washington and Michigan. A similar measure is on Nebraska’s ballot.

Full story here

Fastracks boon doggle, again…

July 28, 2008

When will people learn? From gutting Tabor, to referendum “C” the Independence Institute is becoming almost prophet like in getting things correct. As opposed to Colorado government, both Democrat and Republican.

I wish this wasn’t the case, because it’s not exactly enjoyable to be proven right at the expense of Colorado taxpayers. In 2004 I ran the David vs. Goliath campaign against RTD’s 67% tax increase called FasTracks. Goliath won. We said it was plainly obvious that it was going to be underfunded and over-cost. Read what we wrote back then. Of course the corporate welfare machine behind the tax increase, and Mayor Hickenlooper in front of it promised the impossible again.

But as Kevin Flynn of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

RTD conceded Friday that it cannot deliver the FasTracks program as promised to voters four years ago. The program, originally budgeted at $4.7 billion when voters approved a sales tax to support it, rose to $6.1 billion last year and is poised for a substantial increase next month during budget talks with the elected board.

This is an unfortunate situation where we taxpayers are in no situation to continue to fund this massive failure, while no mayor is willing to push the project back or cut lines in their district. At this point, everyone is looking for a viable solution. In addition to my suggestion to ask the voters to kill it, the Rocky gave some other possible solutions:

Strategies that will be discussed soon include some, all or a combination of these:
* Going beyond the original completion year of 2017.
* Trimming some project elements such as was done with the West Corridor light rail, the first FasTracks corridor to start construction.
* Shortening some of the planned lines.
* Privatizing the financing and construction of more than the two corridors now being privatized.
* Asking the legislature for permission to go to voters for additional taxes.You can bet that TaxTracks, as Ari Armstrong of calls it, will continue to dissapoint its supporters and demand more and more taxpayer money to stay afloat. Those options above are upsetting, no doubt, but fleecing our wallets continuously for another decade or so is even worse. I say we put it to another vote and let Coloradans decide if they have had enough.


Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter

June 30, 2008

Ritter’s arrogance, undeterred

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June 2, 2008

Face The State Staff Editorial

Give credit where credit is due. Gov. Bill Ritter is gutsy these days. Even after having a controversial tax increase he championed slapped down in district court as unconstitutional, he remains undeterred. The Governor will use your tax dollars to backfill his endless promises to taxpayers.

On Friday, Denver District Judge Christina Habas sent shock waves throughout Colorado when she ruled that Ritter’s 2007 tax “freeze”, passed into law by the state’s Democrat legislators and which raised $118 million in revenue this year alone, amounted to an unconstitutional tax increase. Under Colorado law, all tax increases must be approved by voters, not simply adopted by a majority of state legislators. Ritter’s plan, according to Habas’s reasoned ruling, was a tax increase.

Ritter has only been emboldened, telling The Denver Post, “We’re still confident in our position here, we really are…We understand this is in greater flux than it was, but we have to still go forward and budget with what we believe will be in place.”

In other words, Ritter is banking on the likelihood of the Colorado Supreme Court to overturn Habas’s ruling on appeal. And maybe he’ll win his gamble with a notoriously liberal high court. (Last month, under the direction of Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey, the court issued an opinion that gives unions free reign to ignore important coordination prohibitions under Colorado’s campaign finance laws).


Creeping Socialism … Colorado’s Governor

June 12, 2008

Fears that Bill Ritter’s capitulation to unions last fall via proclamation came to fruition today when, just as predicted, votes were held without notice, or even a majority of state employees present that handed over control of their future to union bosses. Not to mention, the fate of the people of Colorado.

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