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Miller HudsonMiller HudsonMay 23, 20187min585

Last week the desultory path of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Colorado’s TABOR amendment found its way into Courtroom 2 at the old federal building in downtown Denver. Just one day short of seven years since their case was originally filed, arguments and a resolution regarding the merits of plaintiffs’ claims appeared no closer than they did in May of 2011. If ever there were justification needed for Shakespeare’s appeal by Dick, the Butcher, in Henry VI, Part 2, this hearing provided it. “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers!” felt more than appropriate.



Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 14, 20182min720

They’re calling the event “Another look at TABOR” — as in 1992’s voter-enacted Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights — because of course it won’t be the first time skeptics of the epic tax-limiting provision in the Colorado Constitution have eyed it in hopes of changing it.

And while the March 19 forum, announced in a news release this week by the League of Women Voters of Denver, is billed as a mere briefing and discussion on the subject —  it’s a pretty safe bet change will be on the agenda.

The featured speaker is TABOR critic Carol Hedges, executive director of the left-leaning Colorado Fiscal Institute and author of “Ten Years of TABOR.” Hedges, the league promises, will offer “an insightful presentation on TABOR and what impact it may have on Colorado’s future.” Her presentation probably won’t include praise for TABOR’s taxing and spending limits or for TABOR author Douglas Bruce.

Of course, if Hot Sheet were to solicit a comment from Bruce — the legendarily  less-than-personable Colorado Springs real estate investor and perennial political activist who served time for tax evasion — he likely would dismiss the forum as another attempt to gut the will of Colorado voters and engorge government. Then, he would hang up. We’d always welcome his input, though.

Here’s more on the forum:

Where: Montview Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia Street in Denver, McCollum Room

When: Monday, March 19, 5:30 pm – Coffee & networking; 6:00 pm – Presentation


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJanuary 12, 20184min504

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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David SchlatterDavid SchlatterDecember 13, 20176min529

The Arapahoe County government spends nearly $400 million per year serving over 600,000 residents.  If your home or business is within the county, you pay the costs of that government.  Whether a homeowner or renter, increased property taxes impact everyone throughout the county.  If property taxes go up, so will rents.  Every citizen is affected.  Does Arapahoe County need a new jail, courthouse, and more taxes?  What about its pension obligations?


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 24, 20174min1247

It’s not that much of a stretch to say the history of Colorado fiscal policy over the past quarter-century is synonymous with the biography of Douglas Bruce. That’s by and large because of the one groundbreaking policy Bruce authored and relentlessly championed into law in 1992, the voter-approved Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in the state constitution.

For all of the legendary Colorado Springs tax reformer’s exploits since then — from his repeated attempts to enact other laws through the ballot box, to his time in elective office, to his stints behind bars for tax evasion — it is that one milestone that has seemingly tied the state’s fiscal fate to Bruce’s persona.

Hence, Colorado Public Radio’s three-part series this month chronicling Bruce’s role in Colorado politics and policy, “THE TAXMAN: How Douglas Bruce And The Taxpayer’s Bill Of Rights Conquered Colorado.” To say the podcast/text rendering is both ambitious and compelling is to say the least; it arguably amounts to a new must-listen/must-read for any student of Colorado public policy. That includes not only aspiring officeholders but also many of those already elected to office who are still in need of a tutorial.

It’s such a significant undertaking by CPR — including the feat of nailing an extensive studio interview with the alternately media-craving, media-baiting and media-hating Bruce — that Westword’s Chris Walker took note of the epic effort this week in a story about the story. Walker interviews Bruce’s interviewers, CPR’s Rachel Estabrook, Nathaniel Minor and Ben Markus:

Westword: TABOR seems like such a difficult and technical subject for a podcast. What was your motivation to start this project, and why did you think it would work?

Rachel Estabrook: I got interested because I produce a lot of the interviews that we do with Governor Hickenlooper, and TABOR comes up all the time. I didn’t feel like a lot of people — even some people in the CPR newsroom — really understood what it was about. It felt right for a sort of explanatory piece, but then I started learning more about Douglas Bruce. He’s such a fascinating character with so many twists and turns and complex motivations.

Twists and turns and complex motivations; yup. Walker even delves into the extent to which Bruce himself may view his own identity as being intertwined with Colorado policy; some of his critics would might put it more bluntly — that he has no other life:

… did he understand that your project was as much about him as it was about TABOR? Did he get defensive when you asked him about his personal life, or did he understand why that was something you’d be interested in?

Minor: We talked about policy a lot. And he would say, “Oh, I really don’t want to talk about more private parts of my life.” But then he would go on and tell us about private parts of his life.

Walker’s profile of the piece is enlightening in its own right. The CPR series, even more so. Both truly worth your time.