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Without Republican Support, Car Fee Hike One Too Many for Ritter March 5, 2008

Posted by bendegrow in Colorado Governor, Colorado Springs, Property tax increase, statewide.
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This morning the Denver Post reports that Gov. Bill Ritter is dropping the “hot potato” that would have hit all Colorado families with another $100 in vehicle registration fees. Of course, it’s important to note that it was Ritter who took the potato out of the oven after it had been thoroughly cooked by his blue ribbon commission.

Seems the governor was unable to get a single Republican in the legislature to sign on to “the bait and switch con game.” Kudos to the Republicans for showing some taxpayer-friendly backbone on this one. Meanwhile, the fact that Ritter is unwilling to push his fee hike forward without a Republican co-sponsor shows just how scared Democratic leaders are of being recognized as the party of tax increases.

It’s good to see another fiscally irresponsible proposal get shelved. Yet while the vehicle registration fee hot potato has rolled away for now, the property tax hike millstone is still slung securely around the shoulders of Ritter and his fellow Democrats in the state legislature.

Cross posted at Mount Virtus

Date Set for Tax Hike Showdown February 11, 2008

Posted by bendegrow in Colorado Governor, Property tax increase, statewide, TABOR.
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Face the State has the latest on the court case requesting a vote of the people on Gov. Bill Ritter’s statewide property tax increase:

The State Board of Education, claiming that CDE is the wrong agency to be targeted, has asked the court to be removed as a defendant. Meanwhile, Ritter has sought to intervene as defendant. A Denver District Court hearing has been set for May 5.

State Board of Education member Bob Schaffer, R-Fort Collins, believes Ritter has a lot at stake in the courts’ pending decision, having approved a property tax hike over the objections of the state’s attorney general.

“He has a clear interest in proving the attorney general wrong,” said Schaffer. “While the massive tax increase bill was passing, the legislature and governor understood that they were likely in violation of the law and the constitution.”

I know, I know. The money from the property tax increase is supposed to be “for the children.” Clearly, since I want to honor the state constitution and have the people of Colorado vote first, this makes me very cold and heartless person. (more…)

“Great Caesar’s Ghost!”: Exposing Knee-Jerk Tax Increases “For the Children” January 24, 2008

Posted by bendegrow in Colorado Governor, Property tax increase, statewide, TABOR.
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On the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel site, Rick Wagner takes a club to the constant screams of interest groups for more money to fund K-12 education. Most amusing was this hypothetical dialogue and subsequent comment:

Government: “There’s a crisis in education. Something must be done immediately! The children’s achievement level is shocking. All that can be known with certainty is that it has nothing to do with my prior policies and the only solution is more money.”

Taxpayer: “Is that really the solution? Maybe we should look at our methods first.”

Government: “Great Caesar’s Ghost man! There is no time for that. We need money now! Why do you hate children?”

When we pursue questions about why achievement is so lacking, we are usually rewarded with a discussion having something to do with Bush, TABOR, Reagan, evil conservatives and tax cuts for the wealthy.

The actual problem in Colorado is that we have a system under the disastrous Amendment 23 that requires increased education funding no matter what the result. How many successful systems exist that are premised on a continuous increase in resources unrestricted by results?

It’s an important reminder that lawmakers and bureaucrats have an easier time accessing the taxpayer’s pocketbook when they frame the issue in the interest of schools and children. It worked for Amendment 23. More recently, Gov. Ritter did just that with his statewide property tax increase, but didn’t even bother to ask the voters as the state constitution requires.

Of course, our schools need some amount of resources to function well. But seldom if ever do you see any serious ideas about restructuring the education system to ensure money is spent with a high level of efficiency. The results are there to show that spending more has very little or no relationship with academic performance or growth.

Yet as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow, you can expect cries for more money based on some calculation that compares our state to the national average of education spending in some area or another. Is the national average of educational performance better than in Colorado? Not exactly. Well, then, somebody has got some explaining to do.

Colorado spends more than $9,000 per student in our K-12 public schools. Is the money really being spent as wisely as it could be, if we just had the political will to fix the system? The sad answer is it takes less political will to cajole a little more money from each of us than to do the hard work of reform.

Ritter Transportation Panel Calls for More Taxes January 7, 2008

Posted by bendegrow in Colorado Governor.
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Another panel commissioned by Gov. Bill Ritter, another set of recommended tax increases:

Governor Bill Ritter’s 32-member blue-ribbon panel is recommending a $100 average increase in vehicle registration fees as part of its $1.5 billion plan to pay for much-needed transportation infrastructure maintenance and improvements.The road funding proposals include:

  • Increase vehicle registration fees by $100 on average.
  • Raise gas tax by 13 cents a gallon.
  • Icrease [sic] the fee on hotel rooms and car rentals to $6 a day.
  • Increasing the state sales tax by 0.35 percent.
  • Increase severance tax by 1.7 percent.

This is starting to sound like a tired theme. I don’t know about your middle-class family, but all these proposals alone would take a significant chunk out of my household budget. Is this what Coloradans voted for when they elected Ritter to be governor in 2006?

Cross posted at Ritter Watch

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