March 31st, 2013
As Colorado lawmakers consider an overhaul of the way the state funds K-12 education, more people are noticing that schools are increasingly forced to pay for the past rather than to invest in the future.
Our public schools must take money out of the classroom in order to pay for investment losses and unaffordable promises that have created a $25 billion shortfall in the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA).
In August 2012, Adams 12 School District teachers protested a 2 percent salary reduction enacted explicitly to offset the rising cost of PERA’s bailout plan. For 2012-13, Adams 12 will pay $190 million in salaries, plus $36 million for PERA and Medicaid.
In 2010-11, Colorado Springs School District 11 paid $21 million to PERA, according to the Colorado Springs Independent. Those payments, combined with funding reductions by the state legislature, led the district to close schools and make cuts that affected everything from textbooks to class size to suspending pay increases.
District 11 CFO Glenn Gustafson told the Independent: “To improve student achievement, it’s more important than ever to attract qualified and talented teachers. But we’re shifting a disproportionate amount of compensation to retirement benefits and health care.”
For 2011-12, my hometown Burlington School District RE-6J, with just 738 pupils, faced a $300,000 budget deficit – half of that amount caused by the cost of PERA’s bailout. For 2012-13, the district decreased salaries by $54,399 but the mandatory PERA contribution increased by $38,594. [Read more →]
Tags: Blog · Capitol Review
March 14th, 2013
The culture of Washington is one of compromise. Go along. Get along. Get something done – good, bad or otherwise.
Sometimes compromise is necessary. When the levers of power are divided, reality dictates two choices: live with the status quo or do some “horse trading” in order to make changes that are marginally better.
When Republicans in Congress compromised on the so-called fiscal cliff, they acknowledged that Barack Obama won re-election, in part, by campaigning on the idea of raising taxes on “the rich.”
Republicans fared remarkably well on that compromise. By conceding a tax increase on those who make more than $400,000 a year, Republicans secured most of the 2003 income tax cuts that otherwise would have expired.
That brings us to the dreaded “sequester,” which President Obama’s White House concocted but now wants to disavow. As president, Obama presides over annual deficits of more than $1 trillion – borrowing 30 cents of every dollar spent – but suggests that to cut a mere $85 billion (just over two percent) from a $3.7 trillion budget would result in calamity. [Read more →]
October 30th, 2012
Richard Cohen, a reliably liberal columnist for the Washington Post, unloaded on Barack Obama in today’s op-ed. Not that he’s going to vote for Romney, but Cohen certainly hits the nail on the head about our Narcissist in Chief:
“Obama never espoused a cause bigger than his own political survival.”
“Bobby Kennedy showed his anger, his impatience, his stunned incredulity at the state of black America. Obama shows nothing.”
“Robert F. Kennedy’s appeal is obvious: authenticity. He cared. He showed it. People saw that and cared about him in return. With Obama, the process is reversed. It’s hard to care about someone who seems not to care in return.”
Ouch! Any wonder the Left is depressed? Even though they will still vote for him, they know Obama is an empty suit who only takes risks to try to ensure his own political survival.
October 25th, 2012
As many have requested my recommendations regarding amendments and judges on the 2012 Colorado General Election ballot, I am posting them for readers’ information.
Amendment S – State Personnel System
Explanation: Makes modest changes to the state personnel system (written into the constitution in 1918) in order to give the Governor greater flexibility in hiring and firing one percent of all state employees (or 325 jobs out of 32,500). Changes to the state personnel system are long overdue. This is a small step, but at least it is a step in the right direction.
Amendment 64 – Marijuana Legalization and Regulation
Explanation: A few years ago, I was warming to the idea of legalization of some drugs due to the vast amount of money governments spent prosecuting drug users whose only crime may be drug use, which is largely a crime against oneself. I will concede that some people may use marijuana recreationally and responsibly with few adverse side effects.
However, after Colorado legalized “medical marijuana,” legalization became a reality I could see with my own eyes and not just a hypothetical discussion. I witnessed the criminal element of drug dealers coming out of the shadows and into our streets, parks and buses where they are closer to our kids. The fact that “medical marijuana” is now legal hasn’t changed the type of people who are drug dealers and who want to see more young people “experiment” with a drug that is harmful to them in so many ways. Making marijuana more readily available to adults obviously makes it more available to kids under 18.
Frankly, I don’t want to make it easier for drug dealers to do business or to lead our kids down a path that steals their potential and ruins their lives.
Amendment 65 – Instructing Colorado Lawmakers to Restrict Free Speech in Elections
Explanation: This measure would instruct Colorado’s legislative representatives to support a federal constitutional amendment to limit personal campaign contributions. Translation: a vote for Amendment 65 is a vote to restrict your First Amendment freedom of speech in elections. The U.S. Supreme Court has correctly said that political speech is the heart of the First Amendment and that obviously includes the right of every American citizen to freely choose to spend his or her own hard-earned money to elect or defeat the candidate or issue of their choice.
The way to get big money out of politics is not to restrict the freedom of citizens. The way to get big money out of politics is to take power and money away from government. Without government control of power and money, few people or corporations would be motivated to spend vast sums of money to influence elections.
Finally, our elected representatives should be accountable to the voters, not bound by some silly amendment passed by a self-serving special interest that, ironically, spent a lot of money to get this amendment on the ballot.
My recommendations regarding the retention of judges is based upon whether they generally apply the law as written in the Colorado Constitution and Colorado Revised Statutes. I recommend voting YES/RETAIN on those who adhere to the law as written and NO/DO NOT RETAIN on those who seem inclined to substitute their own policy preferences for those of the people and their elected representatives.
• Nathan B. COATS, Supreme Court, YES/RETAIN.
• Laurie A. BOORAS, Court of Appeals, NO/DO NOT RETAIN
• James S. CASEBOLT, Court of Appeals, YES/RETAIN
• Dennis A. GRAHAM, Court of Appeals, YES/RETAIN
• Gale T. MILLER, Court of Appeals, NO/DO NOT RETAIN
• Daniel Marc TAUBMAN, Court of Appeals, NO/DO NOT RETAIN
• John R. WEBB, Court of Appeals, YES/RETAIN
October 1st, 2012
July 21st, 2012
What’s more frustrating about President Obama – his ignorance of how difficult it is to make a profit in business or his arrogance that there’s so little he doesn’t know?
Here’s a man with less business experience than a third-grader with a lemonade stand and who has said that during his one, brief private-sector job he felt “like a spy behind enemy lines.”
You need not connect many dots to conclude that his attitude toward America’s businessmen and women is “dismissive, even derisive,” to quote from Obama’s 2009 Apologizing for America Tour.
Obama treats America’s job creators like inconsequential punching bags. His recent comment that government is more responsible for a business’ success than hard work, ingenuity or intelligence smacks of someone who – unlike, say, Henry Ford or Steve Jobs – achieved his success not because he’s especially talented or works harder than anyone else but because he’s a smooth talker and knows the right people. [Read more →]
Tags: Capitol Review · Notes
July 2nd, 2012
For anyone who naively thought the Supreme Court would render a clean and tidy decision on ObamaCare, Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority-of-one opinion should be instructive.
Rarely does the high court render an opinion that draws bright lines by simply applying the constitution as written. More often, the court’s opinion is sufficiently muddled that a future court in a similar case can arrive at any decision it desires simply by selectively quoting only the passages that support its desired outcome and ignoring those that do not.
Roberts did exactly that in finding ObamaCare’s insurance mandate unconstitutional under the constitution’s Commerce Clause: “[T]o permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority.”
But next Roberts ignored the court’s precedent that distinguishes a “tax” from a “penalty,” as the dissenting conservative justices noted: “We have never held that any action imposed for the violation of the law is an exercise of Congress’ taxing power – even when the statute calls it a tax, much less when (as here) the statute repeatedly calls it a penalty.” [Read more →]
April 15th, 2012
Isn’t it ironic that the Smartest President Ever – according to one historian – can say something so ridiculous that most high school civics students would recognize his statements to be hogwash?
After the Supreme Court concluded its hearings on the Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”), President Obama said, during a White House news conference at which he clearly had to anticipate such questions, that it would be “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” for the Court to strike down his health care law as beyond the constitutional limits on the powers of Congress.
He concluded that sentence with another whopper: that ObamaCare “was passed by a strong majority of a democratically-elected Congress.”
Lastly, he claimed that it would be “a good example” of “judicial activism” if “an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.”
Each of those statements is, shall we say, dubious. [Read more →]
Tags: Capitol Review
April 7th, 2012
I like Rick Santorum. I voted for him. I even donated to his campaign. I believe that he is a credible conservative who could provide a striking contrast to Barack Obama and who could resonate with blue-collar voters.
Santorum is a good person, but a good person must also recognize when he’s fighting because he has a chance to win and when he’s fighting just to be fighting.
The Santorum campaign is now unmistakably fighting just to be fighting.
It’s time for Santorum to suspend his campaign so that Republicans can focus on our most imperative mission for 2012 – defeating Barack Obama and his destructive, irresponsible agenda and debt and dependency. [Read more →]
Tags: Capitol Review
February 23rd, 2012
At a time when state legislators should be doing everything possible to encourage job creation, a bill working its way through the Colorado Legislature unfairly paints employers as unreasonable and untrustworthy.
Worse still, Senate Bill 3 gives trial lawyers another opportunity to sink their teeth into Colorado’s job creators – extracting “damages” where none exist and forcing employers to pay dearly just to prove their innocence.
Would it surprise you to learn that the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), just happens to be a trial lawyer with one of the state’s most high-profile firms? Or that, at the bill’s first hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee which Carroll chairs, not a single witness claimed to have been denied a job or a promotion as a result of a credit history check? [Read more →]
Tags: Blog · Capitol Review