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Another Day, Another Carbon Tax January 11, 2008

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The left has figured out a method to raise taxes:

1.  Define something as a sin.  Smoking, Alcohol, Carbon.

2.  Come up with a new guilt tax and a way to spend it outside Government channels, claiming that it is “revenue neutral.”  The favored constituiency that receives these funds is never the constituiency that is paying the taxes.

3.  Put it on the ballot and hope it passes.

4.  Let an election cycle or two pass and repeat.

Colorado Confidential announced that the Carbon Tax Center is in the process of putting an issue on the ballot this year that supposedly will cost each household $42 a year.  These do gooders have supposedly done polling and found Coloradoans willing to pay this tax:

The group conducted a statewide poll on the proposals, the results of which will be released later this month. But McKinnon, a professor at the Colorado School of Mines, said that the data show support for the project among nearly all age and party groups.

They give away their game with the following comment

That is why the two “return” approaches discussed above — carbon dividends or tax-shifting — can turn the carbon tax into a progressive tax. Because income and energy consumption are strongly correlated, most poor households will get more back in carbon dividends than they will pay in the carbon tax. The overall effect of a carbon tax-shift could be equitable and perhaps even “progressive” (benefiting lower-earning households).

Carbon Taxes are a poorly disguised income redistribution scheme, and nothing else. 

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From Jon Caldara’s Stealth Blog January 10, 2008

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You would think that it would take this author, in particular, less than five months to discover that Jon Caldara has his own blog.  Not only that, he is posting CUT announcements on that blog, but not here.  We’ll fix that, at least this time:

Great event coming up from the Colorado Union of Taxpayers(CUT).  On Thursday, January 17th, from 7am to 8:30am at the Panera Bread Company (1350 Grant Street) join the discussion, “What are they going to do to us?”  Hosted by newly appointed Senator Bill Cadman and newly appointed Representative Douglas Bruce.  The cost will be $10 for the continental breakfast and $30 for the 2008 CUT dues.  To RSVP call (303) 759-9936 or (303) 366-3408.

As we write this we were wondering if CUT has a cut rate dues schedule for bloggers.   Just a thought.  (Laughing hard.)  

Property Tax Revenue Estimate More Than Doubles January 9, 2008

Posted by bendegrow in Colorado Governor, Property tax increase, statewide, Referendum C, TABOR.
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From the Denver Post today comes staggering, but not altogether surprising, news:

Gov. Bill Ritter’s property-tax freeze will generate an estimated $2 billion more over 10 years than lawmakers were expecting when they approved it eight months ago, according to the latest calculations.

The revenue leap fired up Republican lawmakers — who were already calling the freeze an “illegal tax hike” — as the legislature convenes today for its 2008 session.

The freeze, which prevents local property taxes for schools from dropping, is now projected to result in nearly $3.8 billion in state money by 2017. That’s more than double the $1.74 billion estimated when lawmakers passed the governor’s proposal in May. [Emphasis added]

Depending on which school district your home or business inhabits, this means even twice the pain for your wallet than previously estimated. Sounds like a rerun of the Referendum C story.

We can’t forget that it is Gov. Bill Ritter and the Democratic Party who own this unconstitutional proposal (i.e., they should have asked the voters first!). They’ve tried dodging the argument and playing dumb. But all lawmakers and public officials need to be kept accountable to the taxpayers they represent.

Cross posted at Ritter Watch

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

Imagine An Oil Gusher January 6, 2008

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If one reads between the lines of a Durango Herald story, it is entirely possible that Colorado and Utah will be the beneficiaries of severance tax revenues beyond imagination if shale oil production comes on line.

The article talks about being able to produce one million barrels of oil per acre.  At today’s relatively low prices, that is $100 million dollars of production an acre.

In an effort to scoff at the level of production that can be reached, Randy Udall, Mark Udall’s brother seems to acknowledge that production could be 100,000 barrels a day.  Environmentalists always seem to grossly under estimate potential energy production, usually by a factor of 20, so assume 2 million barrels of oil a day.

Figure severance taxes to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 million a day and ramping up as the price of oil ramps up.

Does anyone really think that Colorado and the nation will not develop this oil?

Trying to Outguess Bill Ritter January 5, 2008

Posted by awatcher in Uncategorized.
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Sometime next week, Bill Ritter will address the Colorado Legislature.  We’ve been trying to figure out which tax he plans to ask the voters to raise.

It won’t be a tax for transportation.  Democrats hate transportation.  We can rule that out.

Health Care?  Well, maybe.  It seems unlikely given that the Democrats expect to take the White House and hold Congress.  That almost certainly means that health care will be nationalized.  Since Ritter probably thinks that he has only one shot at raising taxes, it likely won’t be for health care.

We haven’t heard “It’s for the children” in quite a while.

Hmmm

We know!  He is going to raise taxes to pay for a cloth factory next to the Capitol building.  He will need it to supply all of the 2008 blue ribbon commissions that he will doubtless appoint.  Some blue ribbon will be left over for hair bows-for the children.

We could only hope that his scheme would be that benign.  It won’t be.

Property Tax Increase January 4, 2008

Posted by awatcher in Uncategorized.
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Mike Saccone has a blurb on how Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction will attempt to defend the mill levy tax increase to voters next year.

He is going to play dumb:

Buescher said he knew the measure would prevent school district tax rates from falling in Mesa County, but he had no idea how severe it would be: “It would have been a harder vote if I had realized how much valuation was going to increase in Mesa County. But we didn’t have that number.”

By now, every legislator in the state should have figured out that the legislative council underestimates new tax revenues by a factor of 3.  10 billion vs 3.5 billion for Ref C. 

The Colorado Legislative Council’s estimates of the bill’s total impact during the current tax cycle increased from $48.2 million in April to $122.8 million in December.

Legislators may play dumb, or they may think voters are dumb.   Bill Ritter has announced that there will be a tax increase on the ballot in 2008.  He is just not sure which one.  Care to bet that Bernie Buescher votes for it?  Care to bet that its proceeds will be underestimated by one third, again?

“Constitutional conundrum” = “Colorado taxpayers, beware!” January 2, 2008

Posted by bendegrow in Referendum C, TABOR.
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Featured in today’s Rocky Mountain News under the header “Constitutional conundrum” is a story highlighting lawmakers’ efforts to simplify the Colorado state constitution. And when I say “simplify,” I mean gut the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). Or as new State Rep. Doug Bruce colorfully put it:

“They talk about fixing the system the way a vet would fix your pet,” the Colorado Springs Republican said. “They want to emasculate it.”

We’re a little more than two years past the passage of the permanent tax increase known as Referendum C (latest estimated price tag = $10 billion). In 2005 state officials and tax-consuming interest groups crossed the state preaching their jeremiads of doom and gloom if voters should reject Ref C. They didn’t tell us that a narrow victory for Ref C generating more than twice the predicted revenue, would also be a prescription for a crisis. But here they go again:

The price of doing nothing today could be that five years from now, the University of Colorado will be privatized, elementary school students will be using old textbooks and the plan to reform health care will have lost momentum, [Senate President Peter Groff, D-Denver] said. “People will say the General Assembly saw this coming in 2008 and didn’t do anything about it.”

The next paragraph is perplexing, in light of the article’s content:

Most legislators agree the constitution’s biggest problem is the number of financial provisions that interest groups have convinced voters and lawmakers to approve.

Most of the article is focused on assailing the taxpayer-friendly TABOR, while giving the budget-busting Amendment 23 – mandating spending increases at the behest of an interest-group lobby – mere passing attention. That sets the stage for state Democrat leaders to inject the tired solution of another tax increase to “solve” the alleged problem:

Most agree there is no good way to revise the constitution. Lawmakers made the job harder for themselves when they passed a “single subject rule” for citizen initiatives and legislatively referred ballot measures, to stop wide-ranging initiatives such as TABOR from ever hitting the ballot again.

House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, has proposed asking voters to lift that rule. The exception would apply only to the constitution, and only for a set period of time. It would allow lawmakers to return to voters in a subsequent year with a fiscally revised constitution that they could vote up or down.

Groff backs that idea as a good first step. It would give lawmakers the opening they need to deal comprehensively with the internal fiscal conflicts of the constitution, he said. Then, two or three years from now, the legislature could think about putting “maybe a son or a cousin or a mother-in-law of Ref C” back on the ballot, he said.

Colorado taxpayers, beware: state officials have a three-year plan for you and your money.

Never Owned a Business – Part 3 December 31, 2007

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Rep Dianne Primivera wrote Improving the lives of middle class Coloradans.

It is quite apparent from her essay that Rep Dianne Primivera either doesn’t have the knowledge to be a state legislator or that she thinks voters lack the native intelligence to understand the depth of her deception.  Neither premise is appealing.

After having proposed an agenda that will raise taxes on Colorado citizens by at least 2 billion while claiming it won’t raise taxes at all, she wants full credit for cutting a single million dollars in business taxes.

If you’re a small business owner, you have enough to worry about without an overly complicated tax code. I will co-sponsor legislation that gives over 30,000 small businesses much-needed tax relief by raising the business personal property tax exemption from $2,500 to $7,000. We will also streamline the tax code so business owners pay taxes based on sales only, instead of navigating a complicated formula.

There are very few businesses which have start up costs for personal property of $7,000 or less.  Lawyers and accountants may benefit from this as they need only a computer, a desk and chair, and some office furnishings.  Anyone who has a real business with real requirements for store fixtures, point of sale software, or mechanized equipment will quickly exceed the $7,000.  We wonder if the Representative has ever owned a business, or known someone who has.

Because we are cynical, we would guess that the state has figured out that the cost of administering and collecting personal property taxes on really small businesses exceeds the revenue generated by those taxes.   Note that if a business has personal property of more than $7,000, it still pays taxes on the whole amount. 

The formula Rep. Primivera refers to is automated and allows for equipment depreciation.  The formula is applied by the taxing agency each year based on changes in equipment reported by the business.  A small businessman never sees or works with that formula, so this bill doesn’t cut down on paperwork.   

In short, this “tax cut” that she is trumpeting generates so little net revenue (and may result in negative net revenue) that it is a nuisance even to the tax collectors.  She has doubtless been told this, but wants credit for something she isn’t really willing to do – cut taxes.

Her essay is so misleading that we would call her a willing part of the Big Blue Lie Machine.   Integrity does not seem to be one of Rep Dianne Primivera’s strong points. 

Part 1 and part 2 of this essay are linked.

Better Living Through Higher Taxes – Part 2 December 30, 2007

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Rep Dianne Primivera wrote Improving the lives of middle class Coloradans. 

She has come up with a new trick.  She is going to spend a billion dollars without raising taxes.  Care to bet?

There is no more important time in a child’s education than the earliest years. Along with Governor Ritter, we plan to give our kids a smart start by making early childhood education available to every 4- and 5-year-old in the state.

If 12 years of education cost’s X dollars in each school district, is there any reason why 14 years of education won’t cost 17% more?  Of course, the legislature won’t raise taxes.  They will force local school districts to do so.

Now for the biggest magic act of all:

The Building Excellent Schools Today – or BEST -program will leverage $1 billion to repair and rebuild crumbling schools without raising taxes.

We guess that since Ref C there is a spare billion dollars laying around the Capitol.  Maybe we can get some of it spent on roads.  If this woman wants to claim that all of this can be accomplished without raising taxes, why did she vote for a tax increase in the guise of a property tax freeze?