Stymied in its quest to repeal and replace (or maybe just reconfigure) Obamacare, the GOP Congress has been promising it next will train its sights on meaningful tax reform. And Americans for Prosperity-Colorado, the conservative advocacy juggernaut, stands ready to help build momentum.
AFP-Colorado’s “‘No More, Uncle Sam,’ Tax Reform Rally,” scheduled for Tuesday, will be one such effort to whip up support. A press statement announcing the 11:30 a.m. event at Lincoln Memorial Park across the street from the Capitol in Denver says the gathering “will feature lawmakers and policy experts discussing the federal tax code; why it needs to be fixed and how Congress plans to fix it.’
Among the featured guests: Fourth Congressional District U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, of Greeley, who will provide the keynote address. (Yes, the same Ken Buck who recently pronounced the Republican Party dead and talked of running for Colorado attorney general if incumbent Cynthia Coffman runs for governor. Jury’s still out on whether Tuesday’s appearance will be an effort to mend fences with the GOP or to burnish Buck’s street cred as a bona fide rebel. Maybe both?)
AFP-Colorado’s staff, including State Director Jesse Mallory, will be on hand, as well, of course. Mallory issued a statement to stir the pot in advance of the event:
“The mess that is our tax code is a result of decades of bad decisions. But we can fix it this year. We are pushing for tax reform that creates a simpler, fairer system with lower rates and fewer brackets, cuts the corporate rate, and creates certainty about who owes what. We believe this would go a long way toward boosting jobs and wages, and restoring some faith in the American Dream. We are inviting Coloradans to join us on Tuesday so we can send a united message to Washington, insisting on federal tax reform now.”
And if that’s not enough to lure you, how about a free barbecue lunch as well as “games emphasizing tax reform,” a “positive” picket line along Lincoln Avenue facing the Capitol, and free “No More, Uncle Sam!” T-shirts?
Questions? Contact AFP-Colorado’s Tamra Farah at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 441-9252.
Conservative advocacy juggernaut Americans for Prosperity’s Colorado chapter already boasts, “…over 127K Colorado activists working together for free-markets, reducing the size and scope of government & holding elected officials accountable.” Now, it’s adding a West Slope field director and promoting its well-known communications director, Tamra Farah, the organization announced today.
Among other changes, Farah has been named deputy state director. A press release elaborates:
Tamra will continue her role as the primary press contact for the state chapter but take an increased role working with legislators and strategic deployment. Angela Dougan has been promoted to Grassroots Director and will take the lead on the chapter’s outreach efforts throughout the state.
For the first time, AFP – Colorado will have a presence on the Western Slope, naming Ginny Chambers as the new Field Director. She will be responsible for cultivating a grassroots presence on the Western Slope, recruiting new volunteers and driving activity in the region.
State Director Jesse Mallory is quoted:
“We are excited to bring on new talent to the already talented AFP-CO team, including the promotion of Tamra Farah, a key member … Over the last couple of years, AFP-Colorado has had a growing impact on policy in the state and at the federal level and our expansion is the result.”
Driving in Colorado isn’t easy, and it’s getting harder every day — from potholes to all the time wasted sitting in traffic. But the fix to these problems requires politicians to make the same kind of tough decisions that small businesses and families make every day.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) says it needs $900 million per year over the next 10 years for new transportation projects alone. The department currently budgets only $80 million a year for these projects. At this rate, it will take nearly 31 years just to complete everything on the department’s high-priority list.
Lawmakers across the political spectrum acknowledge the need to address this shortfall, yet too often they present voters with false choices in their attempt to secure more funding. Rather than prioritizing transportation, lawmakers fund their own priorities and then hold transportation hostage, demanding an increase in taxes to fund it.
Not surprisingly, polls have found Coloradans oppose schemes to raise taxes for transportation. During the 2017 legislative session, 57 percent of Coloradans opposed a transportation tax hike proposal before opponents even began campaigning against it, an indication that no amount of money spent in support of the measure would have convinced voters to pass it.
We didn’t get in this transportation mess overnight, and we won’t get out of it in one legislative session. But lawmakers can start by reallocating funds, eliminating waste and ending cronyism in the state budget.
For one, they need to analyze where our user fees for highways are being spent. How much is frittered away on non-highway spending, like transit projects and decorative landscaping in medians?
They should tackle the cronyism in the state tax code that benefits special interests while shortchanging taxpayers. That includes fuel tax exemptions for favored companies and industries that are cutting into our desperately needed transportation funds.
The legislature can also put an end to special tax giveaways for people who buy hybrid and electric vehicles – a program that costs taxpayers $7.6 million per year. Next time you’re stuck in traffic and see a $100,000 Tesla sitting next to you, remember that your tax dollars helped pay for it.
Hollywood also benefits from taxpayer handouts, as we pay more than $9 million in subsidies for movies produced in Colorado. While that number will be cut down to $1.5 million next year, it deserves to be scrapped altogether.
Lawmakers who would rather raise taxes are saying there’s simply not enough money in the budget. They should look harder. A forthcoming issue paper by the Independence Institute has found nearly $700 million in the state budget of questionable programs and expenditures. Reallocating even a portion of these funds in a responsible manner could provide hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for high-priority transportation projects.
In addition to eliminating waste and cronyism, legislators should consider setting aside sales taxes generated by vehicles, tires, parts and other auto accessories for the transportation budget, as lawmakers have done in the past. These and other general fund transfers provided more than $2 billion for roads before the transfers were targeted by lawmakers seeking to use those dollars for other purposes. Restoring these user-generated revenues to the purpose of improving roads is one way to ensure a reliable stream of funding for highway improvements without hitting taxpayers with yet another tax or “fee.”
Legislators should pursue these and other alternatives before ever asking for new taxes. And rather than hoping they find the political will to give transportation funding the priority it deserves, citizens should contact their state senators and representatives and demand they prioritize transportation funding in 2018 without raising taxes.
Coloradans shouldn’t have to sit in traffic while lawmakers wait for yet another statewide tax increase proposal to fail. It’s time to get Colorado moving again.
As greater Denver metro natives and cities struggle to keep up with ubiquitous development and the seemingly fading character of some historic neighborhoods, one community is looking to curtail growth.
A group of Lakewood residents has canvassed the city’s neighborhoods, gathering signatures to petition the city to place a cap on new development while making it easier to redevelop “blighted” areas.
The Lakewood Neighborhood Partnerships (LNP) organized the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative, which according to its website strives to preserve “the unique environment and quality of life, maintain property values and avoid increases in crime and urban decay associated with unmanaged growth,” among others objectives.
In an early June press release, the group said its initiative would place a 1 percent annual limit on residential growth. The proposal would also establish a permit system, requiring City Council approval for all projects of 40 units or more while lifting permit requirements for redevelopment of existing units in “blighted or distressed areas.”
The group said it seeks to maintain the character of local neighborhoods through the initiative:
Lakewood Neighborhood Partnerships organized the proposal to place a density-limiting initiative on the November ballot in order to continue the city’s suburban appeal, said LNP Board member Cathy Kentner.
“We formed LNP in 2014 to help Lakewood neighbors and neighborhoods maneuver the red tape and, at times, difficulty involved in dealing with City Hall’s procedures,” Kentner said. “We are responding to calls from community members city-wide to remedy the unaddressed consequences of growth in the past dozen or more years.”
A recent Lakewood City Council proposal looking at a six-month moratorium on new multi-family housing developments in the city drew the conservative, pro free-market eye of AFP-Colorado.
Though the proposal is unlikely to garner majority backing from the City Council, in a press release last week AFP-Colorado labeled the proposal “government intrusion in the free market system.”
“City council is not elected to abuse their power by stopping what the market demands in terms of housing. When the long arm of government reaches in to hinder this process, it artificially forces the cost of rents to go up.”
After weeks of publicly considering whether to run in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District next year, Democrat Levi Tillemann told Colorado Politics on Tuesday that he plans to announce on July 9 that he’s campaigning for the seat held by Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.
A local conservative organization is charging that Democrat Levi Tillemann is only pretending to be weighing a bid for Congress and has demanded the Aurora resident make his campaign official. But the former Obama administration official insists he’s staying “well within the boundaries” of federal election law and plans to decide soon whether or not to join an already crowded primary field for the chance to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in next year’s election.
After serving as chief of staff for the Colorado Senate Republicans for five sessions, Jesse Mallory takes over as state director of Americans for Prosperity-Colorado, the influential conservative organization announced Monday.
AFP-Colorado’s previous state director, Michael Fields, was named senior director of issue education for the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a related organization, he announced on Twitter on the last day of the legislative session earlier this month.
Gov. John Hickenlooper hadn’t yet decided on Monday whether to call a special session to come up with more funding for the state’s transportation needs, among other topics he said were left unfinished in the General Assembly’s 120-day regular session.
Americans for Prosperity Colorado announced plans Wednesday to rain down pressure on four Republican senators who have yet to state a position on a bipartisan transportation funding package unveiled last week by legislative leadership.
In the halls of the Colorado Capitol and across social media, Republican elected officials got creative this week coming up with ways to declare a long-awaited bipartisan transportation-funding package dead on arrival.
“If it was a trial balloon, it has more of a resemblance to the Hindenburg,” state Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, told The Colorado Statesman outside Senate chambers.