|That's right our 'Democratic' Governor says the budget is in trouble and these tough cuts are the only way out - and even more interestingly, he has said that there is no 'appetite' for tax increases - a talking point now being repeated by Republicans in the House.
Actually what he wants is a tax decrease for the wealthy during this recession.
Guv wants 'flatter, fairer' business taxes
Changes would bring no overall increase
Gov. John Hickenlooper plans to rewrite the tax system for businesses to make Colorado more competitive with other states, he said Friday.
"We don't have a tax system that allows us to compete better with Georgia or Texas that have a flatter or fairer tax system," he said.
To this statement I have to say:
Why would you make it your aim to emulate TEXAS for business?
Colorado's regressive tax policies have already put our state in competition with the 48th through 50th spots in funding for things like Medicaid reimbursements and education funding.
But wait, there's more, after this budget was proposed, some reporters wrote about a tax loophole that could be tapped for revenue.
It seems that if you make any effort at all to farm on your multi acre luxury ranch in Colorado, you get a real deal - an agricultural tax rate
In Colorado, some famous faces, names get ag-land tax breaks, too
Tom Cruise, Goldie Hawn, Walker Stapleton, Charlie Ergen considered 'farmers'
Hay on West Meadows.
Dick Ebersol and Susan Saint James own a 35-acre lot in the upscale West Meadows subdivision near Telluride. They purchased the land for $1.8 million in 1996 and pay $123 in property taxes on it annually because there is hay on it. They also own an $11 million home in the Mountain Village.
Land to develop.
Walker Stapleton, Colorado's newly elected state treasurer, co-owns nearly 180 acres near Castle Rock with taxes of $116. Stapleton is planning to develop that land.
6,500 acres at Gateway.
John Hendricks, chairman and founder of Discovery Communications, owns more than 6,500 acres of agricultural land in Mesa County in his name and under subsidiary companies. The land is in and around Gateway, where Hendricks owns a luxury home, a car museum and a hotel-and- restaurant complex. Hendricks has plans for more housing and commercial development as part of the Gateway Canyons Resort project. His taxes are as low as $7.27 for some 40-acre parcels.
Star Mesa's empty land.
Craig Slater is executive vice president of the Anschutz Corp. He owns 41 acres of grazing and irrigated empty land on Star Mesa near Aspen that he purchased for $4 million in 2005. He paid $55.44 in property taxes for the land last year
How lax is this loophole?
The report shows the taxable value of 35 acres around a San Miguel County mansion drops from $1.7 million to $6,900 if sheep have the run of the grounds for two to four days a year.
How about that, all these very wealthy - in some cases multi millionaire land owners are paying pennies on the dollar - when it could bring in an estimated 330 million in revenues.
So why doesn't the Governor go after these obviously tax delinquent ranch owners?
anyone looking for a telling example of a landowner who has taken advantage of this generous tax status need look no further than Colorado's incoming governor. John Hickenlooper owns 225 acres in the mountains of Park County. His annual property-tax bill, according to county assessor records: $75.
It's amazing that a busy Governor has the time to run a farm. Or maybe it's amazing that a millionaire Governor doesn't have the 'appetite' to raise the money on his friends and himself, but thinks the other 90% of us should have to bear the costs.
Headlines like today's are all too common since the budget came out.
Florence-area public schools in Colo. put off buying school bus, ask parents to supply copy paper
Well now there has been some push back:
Some REAL democrats are finding their voice:
Saying that just cutting spending wasn't the answer to Colorado's budget problems, a Democratic state senator on Monday filed a citizen initiative that would ask voters in November to enact a three-year, $1.63 billion tax increase.
"I am in hopes that the citizens of this state will say, 'Enough is enough,' " Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, said in a news conference at the Capitol announcing his initiative.
"The straw that broke the camel's back for me was when the governor presented his budget to the JBC (Joint Budget Committee)," Heath said, referring to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper's plan to impose deep cuts to K-12 schools and higher education.
"Republicans do not believe we can tax our way out of this recession," said House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument. "Instead, we are focused on working with Gov. Hickenlooper to make the difficult decisions to ensure the state's spending is in line with revenue."
To sum that up - our 'Democrat' Governor is being cited by the Republicans as having the right point of view - no taxes on the wealthy, and 'difficult decisions' for all the rest of you dirty middle class folks.
At least Senator Heath is standing for middle class values and Congressman Ed Perlmutter recently signaled his support for the measure.
But wait, there's more, our 'Democratic' Senator Michael Bennet who once campaigned on his finger in the wind commitment to the Public Option has a new letter with Republican Mike Johanns of Nebraska calling for cuts in discretionary spending and ENTITLEMENTS like Social Security.
Michael Bennet, the crown prince of "bipartisan" shock doctrine
In a letter to the President, 64 Senators ask him to engage in budget negotiations beyond FY2011 that include discretionary spending cuts, entitlement changes and tax reform, to create meaningful deficit reduction.
Hey, you know how 'Democrat' Michael Bennet got into office? By appointment.
He moved to Colorado from DC and went to work for the richest Republican and Right wing Media Mogul, Phillip Anschutz. Bennet did well, making Anschutz 373 million dollars through a series of company closings and employee downsizing of several companies Anschutz bought that had "Budget" problems. (sound familiar?)
Next Bennet got appointed to the Denver Public School Board by fellow millionaire Mayor John Hickenlooper.
Bennet made unpopular decisions - like closing schools and starting up 'charter' schools - which visibly angered parents. Parents are so angry it has caused a recall effort of a 'Democrat' board member that sided with Bennet and his successor.
Hey I wonder where Bennet thought of closing schools and starting these charter schools - schools that don't accept special needs or second language learners - schools that have a lottery system, not a guaranteed entry program for all students.
These are the schools like the ones in "Waiting for Superman". It's a neat little coincidence that "Waiting for Superman" is produced by Walden media, which happens to be owned by former Bennet boss Philip Anschutz who apparently has an agenda against public schools.
So Bennet was a hero of the Public Option, a man for the little people, the middle class, right?
Now that he is a Senator with no challenge until 2016, he is making the center piece of his office slashing into all of those 'Entitlements' that the middle class depend on to retire with some dignity or to have access to decent Medicare coverage or to attend a good public school.
I believe that there is a pattern here, one where the true democrats who work for the middle class are being supplanted by the other 'democrats' who look out for the wealthy and their interests. They have joined with Republicans for attacks on our middle class institutions in the guise of 'budget' problems.
In Wisconsin we have the full frontal assault on Public Employees and the middle class, while here in Colorado, we have people that we fought to put in office doing the exact same thing, only we are not supposed to mind, since they are 'Democrats'.
If you, our 'Democratic' leaders are true democrats, then stand on our side - the side of FDR, the middle class, the teachers, the public employees - start going after the tax loopholes and make the sacrifices shared - or even uneven. Why should a multimillion dollar ranch that is a third or fourth home get taxed less than $200 but a single family home be taxed at $1500? Uncut our budget deficits.
Prove to us you deserve to be called a Democrat -
Because from where we are standing its kind of hard to tell you and the Republicans apart.