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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJanuary 12, 20184min390

Wikipedia reminds us it was the now-forgotten 19th century New York politician Gideon J. Tucker who observed, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”

It’s a sentiment that nowadays draws more applause on the right than the left. And among those whose daily toils include wooing and cajoling lawmakers to swing their way on the issues of the day, the put-down is rarely heard at all. (Obviously.)

Unless it’s the Colorado Union of Taxpayers. Whatever your philosophical take on the long-standing, tax-cutting, TABOR-lovin’, big-government-loathing advocacy group, you’ve got to give it at least grudging credit not only for sticking to its guns — but also for regularly sticking it in the General Assembly’s eye. Hence, CUT’s announcement today of a planned meet-and-greet and debriefing with a couple of sympathetic state lawmakers.

The announcement’s come-on? “Come Hear What They Are Doing to Us This Session!”

We added the boldfaced italics, but there probably was no need for you seasoned #coleg buffs — or for those of you familiar with CUT. In other words, it’ll be the kind of crowd where the old Reagan-vintage line, “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help,” still draws knee-slapping and guffaws.

If you’re game, here’s the rest of the announcement:

Legislative Kick Off

Come Hear What They Are Doing to Us This Session!
 
Senate Champion Vicki Marble and House Champion Tim Leonard
will share their insights on the 2018 Session.   

Where:
Independence Institute
(Free Parking) 
 
When: Thursday, January 25, 2018
Time: 7:00 a.m. 
 
Cost $20, free for paid 2018 membership  
(CUT annual membership $25) 
PO Box 1976, Lyons CO 80540 Taxpayer Hotline 303-494-2400


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirOctober 10, 20172min491

Tom Tancredo says he’s taking the public’s temperature, gauging its appetite for yet another gubernatorial run. A more world-weary reading of the former congressman/forever firebrand’s ad hoc stumping around the state is that it’s a case of, “Oh please, no! Really? Me? You want me to run for guv? Again?”

Either way, Colorado’s favorite fusion politician — part alt-right/populist rabble rouser, part off-again-on-again Republican — will make a whistle stop Oct. 21 at the libertarian-ish Independence Institute in Denver for a breakfast hosted by the Colorado Union of Taxpayers. He will keynote CUT’s annual Taxpayer Champion and Guardian Award Breakfast, honoring members of the General Assembly who vote right — hard right — on taxing and spending issues. So, the right will be leading the right at the event.

Here’s more, courtesy of CUT:

Come To Honor and Thank:
Senate Champion Vicki Marble
House Champion Tim Leonard
Senate Guardians Chris Holbert and Jim Smallwood
House Guardian Stephen Humphrey
Guest Speaker:
The Honorable Tom Tancredo

 

That’s Saturday, Oct. 21 at 8 a.m., at the Independence Institute’s citadel just east of downtown, 727 E 16th Ave, Denver CO 80203. (Parking is free.) The cost is $20 to non-CUT members but free for those who are up to date on their 2018 membership. RSVP: 303-747-2159 or rsvp@coloradotaxpayer.org


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirSeptember 20, 20174min989

Don’t expect the Colorado Union of Taxpayers to sugar-coat its contempt for Senate Bill 267, the omnibus, revenue-raising sleeper of a bill that passed in the final hours of the 2017 legislature last spring — and drew an outcry from many conservatives.

Sure, it may have shored up rural hospitals and schools and boosted highway funding, among other things, but to the folks at CUT  (and others, including many dissenting GOP lawmakers), the legislation amounted to an unconstitutional tax hike. They contend it should have been put to a vote of the people in accordance with Colorado’s constitutional taxing and spending limits.

So, when Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper announced earlier this month he would call a special session of the legislature Oct. 2 to fix an error discovered belatedly in the bill — it came as insult to injury for the decades-old advocacy group. And CUT’s Marty Neilson made clear in a press release Tuesday that she and her comrades have no interest in helping the governor clean up what they see as his mess:

If SB 267 wasn’t already enough of an affront to Colorado taxpayers, paying for a special legislative session to fix what our esteemed legislators and Governor failed to notice in the unconstitutional SB267 makes me “mad as hell” and “I don’t want to take it anymore!” Special sessions are expensive!   SB 267 starts off as unconstitutional (multiple subjects) piece of legislation; and, is an egregious violation of Taxpayers Bill of Rights (no vote by the people) for the tax and debt increases.   Mess ups like this do not constitute an immediate problem which must be addressed by immediate corrective legislation….

The press release concludes by, “Calling on all Colorado taxpayers to go to the Capitol and demand ‘Let Us Vote!'”

The error in 267 — it evidently went unnoticed until after Hickenlooper signed it into law in May — inadvertently cut the state’s many special taxation districts out of their share of tax revenue from recreational marijuana.

The governor insists the special session’s mission will be narrowly drawn to address that concern and nothing else. Yet, as Colorado Politics reported the other day, at least one lawmaker already is saying he wants to expand the session’s mandate to address transportation — or else he’ll vote against the fix. We’ll stay tuned.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 24, 20176min264

Colorado’s political right has made its heartburn abundantly clear by now over Senate Bill 267, the eleventh-hour, catch-all, bipartisan legislation that wound up funding a little of this and a little more of that — and unexpectedly became the sleeper of the 2017 legislature. The bill’s title purported to address the “sustainability of rural Colorado” but, as it turned out, reclassified the endlessly debated hospital-provider fee; authorized the lease-purchase of state buildings to fund highways; gave a $30 million lift to rural schools; the list goes on.

Just to underscore the indignation among true believers in the state’s law on tax limitation — which SB 267’s critics say was trampled — the venerable (and once influential) Colorado Union of Taxpayers, or CUT, has named a number of the bill’s legislative supporters to a “wall of shame.” It’s evidently a first for the decades-old group. CUT’s ire, and the wall itself, are mostly directed at black sheep in its own flock — i.e., what it deems wayward Republicans. All but two named to the wall are in fact members of the GOP:

…those legislators who sponsored SB17-267 and those CUT pledge signers (indicated by *) who flagrantly violated their pledge to Colorado Taxpayers: Senators Randy Baumgardner*, Kevin Grantham*, Lucia Guzman, Kevin Priola*, and Jerry Sonnenberg; Representatives Jon Becker, KC Becker, Phillip Covarrubias*, Lois Landgraf*, Polly Lawrence*, Kimmi Lewis*, Larry Liston*, Clarice Navarro*.

Some recent history: While much of legislative leadership as well as some rank-and-file members in both parties were patting themselves on the back for the considerable compromise that went into SB 267 (signed into law by the governor in May), the Republican right rebelled. Went ballistic, really. Particularly the reclassification of the hospital-provider fee aggrieved the likes of the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute, among others, because it effectively allows the state to hold onto surplus tax revenue it otherwise would have to return to taxpayers under constitutional taxing and pending limits. Hardline fiscal conservatives also didn’t like how the bill uses a technical loophole to borrow highway-construction funding without first seeking voter approval.

The fact that a number of Republicans signed onto the measure in both chambers — the Senate, which they control, and the House, which they don’t — drew epithets like “betrayal” and “sellout” from the right. Independence’s Jon Caldara and like-minded advocates were left nearly speechless (not literally in Caldara’s case, of course):

Support for the measure by some of the legislative GOP has in fact led to something of a rift in Republican ranks, as highlighted by a heated Twitter exchange we captured not long ago.  Some of the sharpest barbs flew between Caldara and roving Republican operative Tyler Sandberg:

Founded in 1976, CUT describes itself as “our state’s long-serving advocate for taxpayers.” Its familiar scorecard ratings of lawmakers, assessing their fiscal conservatism or lack thereof, have at times held considerable sway among Republicans at the Capitol.

CUT’s leadership includes a cast of longtime, tax-battling stalwarts, including Greg Golyansky as president and Marty Neilson, in charge of outreach.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 17, 20174min212

The fiscally conservative Colorado Union of Taxpayers — whose “CUT ratings” of lawmakers’ voting records over the years could make or break the conservative credentials claimed by many GOP officeholders — doesn’t have quite the profile it did in the days of its late co-founder and all-around activist behind the scenes, Vern Bickel. Arguably, it doesn’t have as much clout, either, given the other state and national center-right advocacy groups that have stepped into the fray over the decades.

Yet, the 40-plus-year-old “CUT” brand still can draw a flock of faithful tax cutters and budget hawks. It also can bring some notable names in the limited-government movement to the stump, like Republican state Sen. Kevin Lundberg and the Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara.

And the May 22 membership event detailed below might even grow CUT’s base, to boot.

The following e-flyer just came in across the transom with all the information you’ll need to RSVP. Read on:

   Colorado Union of Taxpayers

  The Taxpayers Voice Since 1976

CUT Membership Event

Legislative End of Session Event

Guest Speakers:

Senator Kevin Lundberg
Independence Institute Chairman Jon Caldara
Where:
Colorado Automobile Dealers Association
290 E Speer Blvd, Denver CO 80203
(Free Parking)
When: Monday, May 22, 2017
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost $15, free for paid 2017 membership
(CUT annual membership $25)
Goodies from CUT Board
PO Box 1976, Lyons CO 80540 Taxpayer Hotline 303-494-2400


Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 17, 20171min253
The Colorado Union of Taxpayers will hand out some awards and talk some statehouse politics at a breakfast Thursday at the Independence Institute in Denver. Tickets, $5 for CUT members and $15 for non-members, are still available online. Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham of Cañon City and House Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist of Centennial […]

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