GOP input helps property owners avoid annual tax drama

Property taxes remain a hot topic in Colorado and rightly so.  During COVID, economists expected home values to fall as the economy experienced a sharp recession.  So in 2020, the legislature asked voters to eliminate a 40-year-old law that prevented property taxes from rising in unison with the value of that property.  Voters agreed.

Then something strange happened: the COVID recession was brief and instead of tanking, home prices soared because few homes were offered for sale.  Without the 40-year-old Gallagher amendment to limit residential property taxes, homeowners’ tax bills exploded along with rising home values.

In 2023, legislators offered voters a faux tax cut in Proposition HH.  Smelling a skunk (and probably feeling swindled in repealing the old tax limitation), voters overwhelming rejected Prop HH and demanded the legislature do better.  Instead, the legislature passed solely with Democrat support a teeny, tiny tax cut for one year only.  That left in law an automatic tax hike starting next year.

Seeking a more permanent resolution, lawmakers created a property tax commission, and in the closing days of this year’s legislative session, a bipartisan group of legislators introduced an actual tax cut.  Democrats, still hold overwhelming majorities in the legislature, didn’t need Republican votes.  To their credit, Democratic leaders wanted a bipartisan resolution to put the issue to rest. read more…

Jokes about our state legislature used to be funny

We used to joke that “no man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”  That’s no laughing matter in today’s Colorado.

The collective sigh heard across our state when 100 legislators finally went home to mind their own business reflects the growing sense of dread that accompanies the Colorado General Assembly convening each January.

Although some of their worst ideas died on May 8 when the annual session ended, many of them will rise again like zombies next January, and Coloradans will again be subjected to this same ritual.

Not long ago, Democrats and Republicans argued mostly about whether taxes and government spending should be higher or lower.  But as Democrats achieved super-majority status – now 46-19 in the House and 23-12 in the Senate – they’re confident voters gave them a mandate and won’t hold them accountable for their excesses.

Voters said don’t raise taxes without our approval.  Legislators renamed taxes “fees,” so they wouldn’t have to ask.  Voters said don’t create large new “enterprises” – government functions funded by “fees” – without asking our permission.  Legislators simply split enterprises into smaller units or exempted them entirely from the voters’ mandate. read more…

Progressive gun bills defy common sense

Although I am less optimistic, I still hold out hope that Colorado isn’t irretrievably doomed to follow California, Oregon and Washington into the hopeless abyss of Progressivism.

A few key indicators will soon reveal if we have passed the point of no return, including whether enough common-sense Democrats remain to stand with Republicans against the Far Left’s relentless assault on our Second Amendment rights.

Senate Bill 131 would prohibit licensed concealed-carry permit holders from carrying their guns in “sensitive spaces,” which sponsors Sen. Sonya Jaquez-Lewis (D-Boulder) and Chris Kolker (D-Centennial) defined as most places outside your home.

The bill would ban legal possession in these gun-free zones by licensed permit-holders.  It would, of course, do nothing to deter criminals whom Progressives prefer to coddle (for example, by killing a bill to increase the penalty for stealing a firearm). read more…

Progressive speech codes have no place in legislative debate

Remember when Democrats fiercely defended freedom of speech and freedom of expression with few limitations?  That was when Colorado Democrats still had to compete with Republicans for statewide elected offices and legislative majorities.

Having grasped the political upper hand, Democrats are now sadly in thrall to Progressivism and its requisite censorship of dissenters.  Instead of proclaiming, “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” Democrats at our State Capitol now practice “free speech for me, but not for thee.”

Consider the prevailing limitations on debate in the Colorado House of Representatives.  Once called “The People’s House,” the chamber majority now shows little regard for core constitutional rights.  Today’s Progressives tolerate dissent only if they can keep it contained in an airtight box where it cannot be heard. read more…

Reagan: When Character Was King

February 6 marks the birthday of Ronald Reagan, who 44 years ago won the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, vaulting him on a path to the 1980 nomination and a landslide victory over President Jimmy Carter.

The last presidential candidate to largely unite the country, Reagan defeated Carter 489-49 in the Electoral College and 51%-41% in the popular vote.  Four years later, he won 49 states and 59% of the popular vote.

Reagan “rose from the ashes” of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign thanks to his “A Time for Choosing” speech, writes Peggy Noonan in her Reagan biography, When Character Was King.  Goldwater could define what conservatism was against, but “Reagan could define it by what it was for: for greater individual authority and freedom, for the right to hold on to more of your wages, for defending democracy against totalitarians.”

First elected California governor in 1966, Reagan carried 57% of voters against incumbent Gov. Pat Brown who complained that Reagan voters were extremists.  Instead, Reagan’s support “came from middle-of-the-road voters in both parties,” Noonan writes. “They were tired of high taxes, tired of college upheaval spreading across the university system.”

Reagan called his win, “A rebellion of ordinary people.” read more…

CD4 voters shouldn’t adopt Boebert and her baggage

Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District has produced some of the finest Republican leaders in our state’s recent history.

  • Decorated for his Navy combat duty in Vietnam, Greeley’s Hank Brown represented CD4 for 10 years before his election to the U.S. Senate. He later served as president of University of Colorado and the Daniels Fund.
  • Wayne Allard won two terms in the U.S. Senate after representing CD4 for six years. The Fort Collins veterinarian defined the role of a low-key politician, often described as “a workhorse, not a show horse.”
  • Yuma native Cory Gardner ousted Democrat Betsy Markey to win his first of three terms in Congress. The most recent Republican to win a significant statewide office, he toppled incumbent Mark Udall for U.S. Senate in 2014.

Bob Schaffer (Fort Collins), Marilyn Musgrave (Fort Morgan), and Ken Buck (Greeley) also did the essential, often-unglamorous work of serving their constituents.  Each had a demonstrable record of service to the district before running for Congress.

Now consider Rep. Lauren Boebert, who currently represents the Western Slope, San Luis Valley and Pueblo in the Third Congressional District but plans to seek election this fall in CD4 while collecting a paycheck “representing” CD3.

I’m not a frequent Boebert critic, but this decision reveals an irresponsibly self-centered approach to a serious job.  Too many politicians of both parties now confuse serving in Congress with starring in a reality TV show. read more…

Legislators need a lawsuit diet

Businesses that fuel Colorado’s economic engine can’t be blamed for cringing at the specter of the Colorado legislature’s return this month.  Plaintiffs lawyers, however, are not cringing.  Instead, the people who pay to put their faces on billboards along our busiest highways are licking their chops.

Last year, lawmakers went on a lawsuit binge, introducing a record 25 bills that used private lawsuits for enforcement, rather than entrusting enforcement to a government agency.  According to the Common Sense Institute, 43 similar bills have been introduced since 2019.

Using litigation for enforcement violates the constitutional separation of powers.  As most of us learned in school, the legislative branch writes the laws, the executive branch enforces the law, and the judicial branch applies or interprets the law.  Enforcement agencies are accountable to our elected officials; that’s why enforcement of state laws is typically their responsibility.  Billboard lawyers, by contrast, are accountable to no one except their clients, and both are given an incentive to sue by this misguided legislation.

Lawsuits should be a last resort, used when all other options are exhausted.  Instead, private lawsuits make litigation a primary means of enforcement.  A business owner’s first formal notification of a complaint shouldn’t be when served with a lawsuit. read more…

What if Biden bows out?

For all the talk about President Biden’s determination to seek a second term, the case against him doing so is building.  Numerous polls now show him decisively trailing former President Trump, both nationwide and in key battleground states.

Overwhelmingly Americans realize Biden is too old and no longer competent to be President.  By only slightly smaller margins they feel the same about Trump.

In a recent story which attempted to portray a viable strategy for Biden’s re-election, Politico’s Jonathan Martin acknowledged: “The oldest president in history when he first took the oath, Biden will not be able to govern in the manner of previous incumbents.  He simply does not have the capacity to do it, and his staff doesn’t trust him to even try, as they make clear by blocking him from the press.” read more…

Israel, Gaza and genocide

To realize that “the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked” one need only look at the anti-Israel protests around the world since Hamas terrorists murdered some 1,400 civilians and kidnapped 200 others.

The horrific acts include:

  • More than 260 people concert-goers gunned down as they fled marauding butchers. Women were raped, their legs broken, some burned alive.
  • A grandmother taken hostage was executed by terrorists who filmed her murder then posted it to her social media account for her family to see.
  • Traffic and dashboard cameras, plus videos boastfully recorded by the bloodthirsty attackers, shows them indiscriminately shooting and torturing civilians. Some, including children, were decapitated with shovels or rakes.
  • A father was blown to bits by a grenade as his sons watched. A parent and child were bound together with wire and burned alive.

read more…

Even if Prop HH passes, property taxes are still going up

We didn’t need an election this November to receive a modest property tax reduction.  The legislature can cut taxes anytime; it doesn’t need voter approval.

But with Coloradans facing the largest property tax increase of our lifetime due to soaring home prices, the legislature chose to put a massive expansion of government on the ballot disguised as a property tax cut.

Remember this: even if Proposition HH passes, property taxes will still increase.  If property values double in the next 10 years, so will property taxes.

The deceptive ballot question asks: “Shall the state reduce property taxes for homes and businesses…”  That sounds good, so voters may not read much further.  Even if they do, the ballot never explains voting “yes” is agreeing to give up refunds under the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) and to permanently increase the cost of state government.

Voters are facing an average increase in home property taxes of 36% come next January.  In some communities, the increase could be nearly 50%.  If Prop HH passes, the average increase will be 26% – still the largest property tax increase of our lifetime. read more…

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Quote of the Day

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.

— Edward Langley

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