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Hey Beauprez haters, better change your Gubernatorial line after the Hefley endorsement! Or did "Be the Change" not authorize that yet?

Republicans leaderless on TABOR

Republicans leaderless on TABOR
By David Harsanyi - Denver Post Columnist

There are around 4.5 million Colorado citizens - Dick Armey is not one of them.

Armey is former U.S. House majority leader and one of the primary authors of the "Contract With America."

He's a pugnacious defender of conservative values and dead-on in his criticism of the massive tax increase masquerading as Referendums C and D.

But trust me, no one in Colorado cares about Dick Armey.

So why is he on TV debating Gov. Bill Owens on TABOR?

Where are congressman Bob Beauprez or former University of Denver president Marc Holtzman - the leading Republican candidates for governor?

Are any Colorado Republican leaders willing to take on Owens and Democrats on this colossal tax hike?

Anyone? ... Anyone? ... Anyone?

"I've been involved in Colorado politics all my life," explains Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, "and I have never seen the Republican Party as rudderless as it is now."

Without dependable leadership, you can understand why those scraping to keep fiscal sanity alive in Colorado reach out to national figures.

After all, they're up against a political machine consisting of big-business interests, powerful unions and insatiable politicians projected to raise anywhere from $6 million to $10 million just to campaign for this government expansion.

Yet, by bringing in outsiders, those who want to save the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights will allow the public to be sucked into a debate on carpetbaggers instead of government waste and accountability.

No doubt, you'll soon see and hear ads railing against the "crusading" anti-tax activists. Ads about nihilists who want to destroy the state; the lovers of potholes and deniers of roads. Fanatics who want to leave children hungry and uneducated.

You know, just for kicks.

(Those who support tax increases, you'll notice, are never referred to as "activists" or "crusaders," they're merely looking out for you.)

Make no mistake, Owens' defection to the Left on TABOR creates a false impression of bipartisanship and is the sole reason this tax increase has a chance.

So where are the Republicans? Are they scared of the governor?

Beauprez, for instance, isn't ready to talk. Though he did write in a Backbone America poll that he was "increasingly concerned that Referendum C is to our budget problems what a chain saw would be to brain surgery - a blunt instrument for a delicate job."

"Concern" is not exactly a condemnation of excessive taxation, but it is a great line, nonetheless.

Holtzman, the other leading Republican gubernatorial candidate, is a completely different story. He had his debate with Owens - in private.

"I've already told the governor," he explains, "this isn't a debate between me and you, it's between you and you. ... This is between the Gov. Owens that was twice elected by the people as a tax cutter, a fiscal conservative, and the one who now sides with left-wing forces in the Democrat legislature."

Holtzman points out that Owens and the Democrats want a blank check on the amount of money government keeps from expected tax surplus.

"The same people that brought us the Democratic House, Senate and Sen. Ken Salazar," Holtzman goes on, "now want to raise your taxes. This is not the Bill Owens I twice supported."

From Owens and others, you'll soon hear how the tax hike is only a pittance - which would be true if everyone, including toddlers and pets, paid taxes.

In reality, it will cost a Colorado family of four more than $3,000 - if not more.

For the middle class, it is a choice between months of mortgage payments or handing money to an organization that never stops asking for more.

"It pains me to say this," Holtzman explains. "Owens is a good man who has done good things. He is my mentor. He brought me into Colorado politics. But my conscience cannot support this."

The question is: How could any Colorado Republican support it?


Let's face it, while tax cuts make for great campaign rhetoric, that rhetoric is virtually useless when it comes to solving problems. A lot of Rs aren't speaking up against this one because they don’t want to bear the blame for being the ones to de-fund higher education, environmental protection or Medicaid.


Last week I was walking a Jeffco neighborhood to gauge support for a state rep candidate. I went to the home of a middle-income, 40ish, Republican couple. When asked what they would like to see happen with the state government, both separately responded "raise taxes for schools."

I was shocked! Two Republicans who want higher taxes. You bet they signed up for a C/D yard sign.

Beauprez, Holtzman and the rest of the Flat-Earth Society have spent too much time at $1,000-per-plate-fundraisers and not enough time talking to average Coloradoans who are sick of seeing their state ranked in the bottom for school funding, college spending, road construction, childhood immunizations, and cancer sceenings.

Seems like the only thing we've got enough of are rich, white Republican candidates who want to pay even less back into the society that was the foundation of their success.


That Harsanyi piece revealed an interesting campaign strategy on Holtzman's part. Is he now officially running as the anti-Bill Owens conservative? When you look at it further it might not be a bad course of action to take.

With Beauprez lining up most of our State's big politico endorsements (aside from George Foreman...haha) it might be a good strategy for Holtzman to come in with a message of 'I am the anti-establishment candidate who could re-energize our party by holding true to the party's values'. Bill Owens became the R's human pinata after the Dem's takeover in the last election so establishing himself as a voice of change from the current administration could prove to be effective for Holtzman.


do we have to post entire articles on here? it takes up so much space. Can't we have a ruling that the link would suffice?


hear hear.


Last week I was walking in Arapahoe County and talking with the residents. I stumbled upon a Democrat couple who expressed their concern of making ends meet. Though they knew the economy was turning around, they still struggled on their joint income to pay for daycare, clothes for their kids and rising insurance costs. They had heard the state was struggling to make ends meet too, but were willing to drive around potholes for the time being.

They had also heard that their TABOR refunds in the next couple of years could total $300 per annum. This money could help them supplement thier current income and pay for needed groceries or other expenses they struggled with.

You bet they are going to have a No on C sign in their yard.

Donald E. L. Johnson

Well, the pro C and D folks already are running their lies in radio commercials.

If BB doesn't come out against C and D, I won't support him in the primary nor the general. I gave $1,000 to Owens in two campaigns and allowed his campaign to phone bank out of my offices. Do I feel cheated on this and several other issues!



So, not only is Vic's post clearly just a b.s. inverse of Walking's post, but he seems to have not noticed today's Denver Post business section headline about Colorado's economic recovery and low unemployment numbers.

Since our economy is recovering, why can't we invest in the state to keep it on track? If we don't have gsolid roads, preventive health care, and good schools, businesses and jobs will leave.

Maybe Vic want us to emulate Nevada -- a low tax state that generates revenues from gambling and prositution. That way his Democratic friends can spend their $70 refund on either a few hands of poker or a threesome with a happy ending.

If those Arapahoe Democrats actually do exist, Vic should ask them if they think it makes sense for the state to run a $400millon deficit and still giving $200 million back to taxpayers.



You say me might get $300 back? ...And all we have to do is sell out our childrens education and healthcare, environmental protections, and infastructure? Sounds pretty good to me!


The continuation of Vic's story...

And then on the way to dropping their kids off at daycare they accidently hit an huge, unforseen pothole and end up having to pay the entirity of that $300 plus $900 of their own funds to an auto mechanic. And then they get divorced and the mom becomes a street hooker! Damn C & D!!!!


The continuation of Vic's story...

And then on the way to dropping their kids off at daycare they accidently hit an huge, unforseen pothole and end up having to pay the entirity of that $300 plus $900 of their own funds to an auto mechanic. And then they get divorced and the mom becomes a street hooker! Damn C & D!!!!

Donald E. L. Johnson

What's sad is that Owens doesn't know a tax increase when he sees one.

And pro TABOR taxers pretend that spending more on education will increase the quality of education in the state.

Tell that to parents in Washington, DC, which spends more student than any state.

Taxem Owens and his big spending buddies on the left don't have the beginnings of an honest argument in favor of C and D.


"Taxem Owens and his big spending buddies on the left don't have the beginnings of an honest argument in favor of C and D."

This is laughable. If you want private higher education, if you want decrepit roads, if you don't mind finishing last or next to last in services then why don't you just move to Alabama or Mississippi.

Those of us who would prefer that Colorado remain a vibrant and livable state respectfully disagree with your position.


What I think is absolutely hysterical, is that Disney's movie Chicken Little is coming out on Nov. 4 this year. Will those ads have to be reported some way for the Ref C opposition?

Donald E. L. Johnson

Should that be:

Taxem Owens
Tax'm Owens
Taxum Owens
Tax-them-till-they-drop Owens
Tax'em Owens
Taxman Owens
Taxer Owens
What tax? Owens
See-no-tax Owens
I tax, you tax, we all tax Owens
The Owens' Legacy Tax
Tax'em till they leave Owens
Term limited taxer Owens
Cover your tax Owens
Owens' resume tax
Owens' screw-the-little-guy tax
Never saw a tax I didn't like Owens


Public Health
-Colorado ranked 37th in the nation in 2004 in per capita health spending
-The National Average ratio for health officials per capita is 437 per 500,000 citizens, Colorado is less than half that (204/500,000)
-Because of TABOR induced cuts essential health services are being slashed, these include communicable disease control, TB screening, immunizations, and food safety
-Colorado's access to prenatal care dropped from 23rd nationally in 1990 to 48th in 2004
-76% of women nationally recieve adequate prenatal care, only 67% in colorado do
-in 2002 Colorado was 50th (that's last) in the nation in child immunization, the state was well above average in 1995

Our higher education system is collapsing under TABOR, I'd be happy to provide those numbers as well if anyone is interested. We need educated workers if Colorado is going to noit just survive in the 21st century but thrive...

Colorado's roads recieved a D+ and our bridges a C+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2003, in 1994 65% of our roads were in need of repair... in 2001 that was 73%.... we are one of just a handful of states whose road conditions actually worsened.... I could go on but suffice it to say our population is expanding while our transportation funding is shrinking, we are all wasting more time in traffic every year. This is more than just a minor inconvenience it has real costs in terms of lost productivity.

Mr. Johnson would you care to explain to me how any of the above are not "honest" arguments in favor of De-Brucing?

If TABOR is allowed to continue at it's present rate Colorado will resemble a 3rd world country within the next 5 years. If you want to live in a backwards state whose roads are literally crumbling, whose children do not recieve proper vaccinations, which has no public higher education system then by all means let me call you the moving truck, I'm sure you will love life in Louisiana. The rest of us would like to keep Colorado a liveable state for all.


We can see what Donald's education bought him. Donald nobody is anti-tabor, give me a break, my only issue is the ratcheting down effect which almost everyone has an issue with. The main part of Tabor is working exactly as designed. The people of Colorado get to vote on what kind of state they are going to leave to their children. Also something that Donald "let’s see how many time I can say tax in one post" Johnson and Vic convenient leave out of every post is that there is no guarantee that we will continue to see future refunds. You guys are selling a pipe dream, at least we know what we get with Referendum C and D.

Hey Donald how about this for a slogan?
The future is too bright - no on Ref. C and D.


"Johnson and Vic convenient leave out of every post is that there is no guarantee that we will continue to see future refunds."

remember when discussing tabor to ask people when the last time was they actually recieved a tabor generated refund from the state, many are suprised when they realize that in fact that haven't had one in years.


At least we know what we get with Ref C&D? What is that? All we do is pull that magic lever, and that list of transportation projects comes true, children will all be immunized, higher ed will be saved along with all those other 3-person-per year-majors and we wont risk being a third world country.

I appreciate your defense of TABOR. However, my problem is that the new cap will be too high. If the state needs those refunds, why not just ask the taxpayers individually? Some families need those refunds some years, while other years may be more profitable and they would be willing to forego those refunds. Put a check-off on the tax form like any other tax check-off programs. I have a hard time with and probably other voters with "You need exactly all of my refunds for the next five years, just to balance the budget? No new programs? No more wasteful spending?"

Fact is, proponents can't guantee that.

Donald E. L. Johnson

Have you adjusted your per capita figures for the number of uninsured illegal immigrants who are distorting our demographic and other data?

What's the effect if you measure spending to that related to legal immigrants and citizens?

Have you checked the sources of the surveys you cite? Civil engineers, teachers associations, road builders' associations, public health workers' societies and academics. Have you adjusted for their agendas?

Our transportation spending is shrinking? Haven't driven around the state lately, eh. I have and find the roads here much better than those in several other states.

I'm sorry, but I've been dealing with surveys for 40 years and know how they're distorted by the agendas of those who fund them.

C and D are driven by the people who would directly profit from more government spending, not by the supposed beneficiaries of better roads and services who would be asked to over pay for them. Typical.


Donald, here's U-Haul's number... 1-800-789-3638.

I'll be right over to help you pack.

Open your eyes, this state is literally falling apart before our eyes.

Do you not think that the elimination of public higher education will have a very real impact on the economy of the state, and subsequently your pocketbook and your property value? Perhaps you are independently wealthy and do not depend upon this state's economy but there are 4.5 million other people in this state who would like to maintain a decent standard of living.

Donald E. L. Johnson

What you don't seem to understand is that taxpayers are happy with Colorado's level of services and its roads, etc. The only people who aren't happy with them are those would make fortunes "fixing" and expanding them.

And, Learned, you've come up with a brilliant plan for preserving Colorado's beauty and character. Drive out the malcontents and discourage potential newcomers by letting the place go to hell in a hand basket. Of course, that's not happening and it won't, especially if C and D are defeated.

true learnedhand

I do find it very interesting that "learnedhand" the advocate of tax increases could be so far removed from his true namesake.

"Anyone may so arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible. He is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes." - from the real Learned Hand, May 20, 1945.

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