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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 17, 20174min285

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

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirApril 14, 20174min247
Even amid the ever-shifting alliances of hardball politics, there are some loyalties you generally can rely on. You know, like how the environmentalists, the abortion-rights advocates and the trial lawyers are generally in the Democrats’ corner. And the gun owners, the right-to-lifers and the fossil fuelers — to say nothing of the tort reformers — will line up with the GOP. […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 7, 20174min363

…but like other policy prescriptions that so decidedly bear the GOP brand, it probably won’t go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled House. And it might not even make it that far.

Senate Bill 39, introduced in the Republican-run upper chamber by school-choice warrior and Berthoud Republican Sen. Kevin Lundberg, still has to go the Appropriations Committee after its approval this afternoon in the Senate Finance Committee.

Legislation from either party, in either chamber, can cool its heels for quite some time in Appropriations as the Joint Budget Committee shapes up the annual state budget and decides how much money there is in the overall fiscal piggybank. Sometimes, appropriations even can be the gentler version of the legislature’s notorious “kill committees.” Bills go to the kill committees to face execution; in “Approps,” death can be lingering.

None of which is to pass judgment on the merits of the bill itself, which as a press release today from the Senate GOP communications team tells us:

…creates an income tax credit for families who move a child from public school to private school or home-based education program.

For private schools, the credit may be carried forward for three years and will equal 50 percent of the previous year’s per pupil revenue, or the amount of tuition paid, whichever is less.

The credit for home-based education will equal $1,000 for students who enroll on a full-time basis.

A compelling proposal to many Republicans; an unacceptable one to most Democrats To vastly oversimplify the politics surrounding what is a complex piece of legislation affecting many different stakeholders: Don’t expect Democrats to even give the time of day to this perennial favorite of Republican education reformers. It’s not just about differing political philosophies, either.

Public school districts don’t like it because it takes kids away from their schools, lowering their student count and forcing them to rejigger their budgets to figure out how to pay for the same amount of teachers and real estate with fewer per-pupil dollars from the state. Budgeters don’t like it because the tax credit would leave a gaping hole in the state budget. Teachers unions — a political heavyweight in Democratic circles — don’t like it because, well, they simply don’t like any educational setting where their dues-paying members aren’t doing the teaching. Democrats as a whole embrace all of these objections.

To that, you can add a concern voiced by Democratic state Sen. Nancy Todd of Aurora, as noted in a press release from the Senate Democrats following the bill’s approval in the Finance Committee: This seminal education proposal never even went to its most logical committee of reference, the Education Committee on which Todd serves.

All of which spells D-O-O-M for the proposal for yet another session. As of now, the bill doesn’t even have a House sponsor, a good indicator of its likely fate.

Nevertheless, Lundberg, who has carried essentially the same bill many times before, proudly holds his banner high. As quoted in the Senate GOP press release:

“One-size-fits-all education does not work for Colorado kids…Expanding choice and opportunities for middle class and low-income Colorado families to help give more kids the tools they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond is a top Republican priority, and today, we were able to take a crucial step in setting more Colorado students up to achieve.”