Another Ritter end-run around taxpayers

Republicans wouldn’t have dreamed of this storyline, but for the second time in less than a year, Democrat Gov. Bill Ritter is proposing a major tax increase.

And just like last time, he doesn’t want to let you vote on it.

Taxpayers who have just received their property tax bill could be forgiven for mistaking last year’s tax "freeze" for a tax hike. After all, when the legislature and the governor pass a new law that causes you to pay more than you would have otherwise, most people understandably think their taxes have been raised. (more…)

Congress fools with light bulbs

What is it about Washington, D.C., that turns the brains of otherwise intelligent people into mashed potatoes?

Americans say we want our energy to be cleaner, more affordable and less reliant on foreign sources. Even if those desires are incompatible, Congress is in the business of making promises, not making people face tough choices.

So what great things did Congress and the president do in the new energy bill?

First, they mandated that we throw out our trusty incandescent light bulbs in favor of compact florescent light bulbs that are goofy-looking, impractical and toxic. (more…)

Groff’s leadership can be more than symbolic

When the Colorado General Assembly reconvened Wednesday, great fanfare accompanied the election of Sen. Peter Groff as the first African-American Senate president in Colorado. However, Groff’s leadership has the potential to construct a legacy that is more than symbolic.

For three years, Groff and I served together in the Colorado Senate. We stand on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but his integrity, his well-considered principles and his unapologetic advocacy of those principles set him apart from even many of the most respected legislators. (more…)

Sorting out GOP White House hopefuls

Rarely does the New York Times hit the nail on the head, but just as "a stopped clock is right twice a day," a recent Times/CBS poll confirmed that most Republicans (76 percent) don’t know what to make of the party’s candidates for president. Count me among them.

In judging among candidates for president, my checklist is short: commitment to low tax rates and balanced budgets, unwavering on national security, and reliable to appoint judges who adhere to the plain language of the constitution. (more…)

Founders’ concept of freedom, faith too often forgotten

Just as the Declaration of Independence invoked the Creator as the source of our inalienable rights, the tradition of a National Day of Thanksgiving further confirms that the founding generation found nothing unusual about viewing government through the dual lenses of faith and reason.

Too often the debate over the proper role of religion in government devolves into polarized camps.  One camp argues that the Founders specifically created a Judeo-Christian state; the other counters that, because of their divergent beliefs, they created government as a purely secular institution.

While little factual evidence seems to substantiate the latter view, it seems that the former takes faith a step beyond the Founders’ application. Rather than create a government that was either secular or religious, the Founders assumed a culture that unified around key principles, including reason and faith, that are essential to personal freedom and limited government. (more…)

Coloradans deserve health care choice, not mandates

"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it." — Mark Twain.

You might say the same goes for health care.  Politicians are constantly tinkering, making promises they can’t deliver, and usually creating a bigger mess than the one they promised to fix.

Ironically, despite the abysmal record of lawmakers and bureaucrats to produce lower prices or create greater choice, the public still clamors for government to "do something."  Perhaps the more logical outcry should be: "undo something." (more…)

Is our compassion consistent or convenient?

Given the special relationship we have with our pets and the tenderness we feel toward animals that rely on us for protection and sustenance, it’s no wonder that so many of us feel disgust and contempt when we read about people who show blatant disregard for animals.

A Denver man accused of twisting the head off a tame duck in the lobby of a St. Paul, Minn., hotel is the most recent grotesque example.  That deadly, drunken trantrum seems mild, however, compared to the pattern of habitual cruelty exhibited by the likes of former football star Michael Vick who train dogs to rip each other apart for profit and amusement then kill them by horrific means when they are no longer useful.

We express our intolerance for such actions — yes, intolerance can be a good thing — through our laws. (more…)

No wonder Americans won’t do those jobs

Much of our country’s simmering dialogue on immigration sooner or later turns to the question of hiring people to perform certain "jobs Americans won’t do."

Rarely, however, do policymakers address why Americans apparently refuse to do certain jobs while immigrants go to great trouble and expense to come here to perform those very jobs.

Many of the jobs now commonly performed by immigrants were once filled either by students or by adults who saw work as noble and idleness as shameful.

Today, our relative prosperity and appetite for instant gratification is becoming our enemy. (more…)

Voters scammed by Ref C ’shuffle’

Two years ago, lawmakers asked voters for a "timeout" from the spending restrictions of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) in order to allow the state budget to rebound from the recession of 2001-2002.

Referendum C, which passed by a narrow 52 to 48 percent margin, erased the TABOR spending limits for five years and permanently increased spending caps thereafter. Voters were promised that K-12 education, colleges and universities, and health care would split the lion’s share of the resources if the measure passed.

Following the 2005 vote Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald said, “‘We already agreed, if Ref D failed, it would be 33 1/3, 33 1/3 and 33 1/3,’ for schools, colleges and health.”

But a funny thing happened after the election. Spending on programs not associated with Ref C has grown more than twice as fast as spending on education and health care. Now, voters have cause to believe they were sold a bill of goods. (more…)

Property: Rights or privileges

Anyone who has grown up on a farm or ranch hears this maxim, "Take care of the land, and the land will take care of you." A farmer or rancher who doesn’t take care of the soil will soon find that the soil won’t produce enough to make ends meet.

But you don’t need to be a farmer or rancher to understand the importance of private property rights. What’s more, property isn’t simply a piece of land or a home. Property is anything you own — your clothes, your car, your business. (more…)