Small-government rabble-rouser and convicted tax evader Douglas Bruce received a sentence Monday of 180 days in jail followed by strict probation, and on the same day, prosecutors announced that the IRS requested copies of the evidence against him.
First Assistant Attorney General Robert Shapiro said he handed over the case file Monday but doesn't know whether federal authorities will launch their own investigation into Bruce and his now-defunct charity, Active Citizens Together (ACT).
Bruce's sentencing drew the curtain on a rare criminal tax-evasion case at the state level, and one Bruce could have potentially avoided had he cooperated with the Department of Revenue.
Denver District Judge Anne Mansfield commented on Bruce's "reprehensible" behavior during the trial and wondered aloud whether he could last six years on a strict form of probation that will lay bare for authorities every last detail of Bruce's finances.
"It was apparent during the trial itself, the defendant had absolutely no regard for the rule of law," Mansfield said. "His behavior is used to gauge his likelihood of success on probation. It requires abiding by strict rules. I have serious reservations Bruce can be successful."
ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper hosts a very special roundtable discussion with exclusive appearances by Governor Jan Brewer, R-Ariz., Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., and Gov. Nikki Haley, R-SC, to discuss the federal and state budget crises and constituent responses to the shortages.
Bless his soul, Deval Patrick is a true Democrat. But I'm guessing Hick will be hard to distinguish between the Tea Party/Republican governors in the discussion:
Those things are obvious. What I am afraid of is Hick will be another in a long line of Colorado Democratic Leaders (I almost put "Democrat" cuz I'm so tired of their wimpiness) that would be ashamed to run as Republicans yet can't find the principle to stand up for truly democratic - and Democratic! values - even as those who live and represent those values knock on the door and stare them in the face.
So the latest talking point about Governor Hickenlooper's horrible budget proposal is that "he got the conversation going" and "even he knows TABOR is bad". Almost every other caller to Mario's show on the subject contains those points, yet none of those callers have picked up on the obvious point that Mario keeps making: the Governor has shown no leadership on the issue, is doing no heavy lifting and has done few of the things he could unilaterally do to help the situation.
The biggest problem in this is that Hick won't even address the virulence of TABOR, when "everyone" knows it's a problem. Well, everyone knows this but the Governor.
But guess what? Even Colorado businesses, whom Hick is trying to tepidly placate, know it's a problem:
Colorado Business and Community Leaders View TABOR as Deeply Flawed
A wide range of Coloradans -- business leaders, higher education officials, children's advocates, legislators of both parties, and Former Governor Bill Owens (R), among others -- recognize that TABOR has limited the state's ability to fund critical services:
"Coloradans were told in 1992 . . . that [TABOR] guaranteed them a right to vote on any and all tax increases. . . . What the public didn't realize was that it would contain the strictest tax and spending limitation of any state in the country, and long-term would hobble us economically." -- Tom Clark, Executive Vice President, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation
I can't find the link now, but Colorado businesses went so far as to write a letter in opposition to TABOR to a state that was considering its passage. (I think it was Maine.)
So: Everyone "knows" TABOR is bad. Everyone says Hickenlooper "knows" this. And everyone "knows" Hickenlooper just wanted to start a budget conversation by dumping on Colorado's schools and students.
So how come Hick doesn't know what business knows in Colorado: that we need to eliminate TABOR and start fairly* taxing the rich to put our entire house, not just business, in order for the next generation of Coloradans.
Amendment 63 - as marketed by reactionaries from the Jon Caldara camp at the Independence Institute is misleading; asserting it promotes choice for Colorado's concerned citizens. Let's really look at what Amendment 63 will do in light of the federal coverage mandate by 2014.
Insurance coverage vs Health Care?
The US adopted a federal insurance based system in 1973, ratcheting the controls of the insurance industry to write, regulate, and request federal funding to support their industry. As such, a private system of health care management organizations - HMO's and PPO's - and insurance coverage products were created. The feds would pay a share to the insurance industry, employers would pay additional funds to the insurance industry, the taxpayer would pay a share to the insurance industry. That's a lot of shares - to the tune of 17% GDP - that kept a lot of shareholders and insurance executives happy for decades. Further, the industry was self-regulating doing what's best for the taxpayers.
Health Care transitions
HCR is transitioning the nation from an insurance industry controlled system to a care based system with options that will range from private insurance to State and federal care based opportunities. Reforms are creating a variety of choices for citizens to choose from, based on an individual's socio-economic situation. In otherwords options to fit within a budget - no freebies outside qualifying benchmarks.
Colorado Springs, home of groups such as Focus on the Family, apparently has had enough with their Ayn Rand experiment. Their Mayor is calling for a time out from their own version of the Orwellian named "Tax Payer Bill of Rights"
Rivera wants the change because the city's budget has been shrinking dramatically during the nation's economic plunge. TABOR sets a revenue cap for the city government that's based on what have been declining collections of sales and use taxes, meaning it could be years before the city could spend at pre-recession levels. Rivera said such a TABOR timeout would be the only way city government can recover from the economic recession.
Another piece of the sky fell today as those slinging snack foods to the masses brace for the burden of charging their loyal customers a 2.9% sales tax-- one of the lowest in the nation. Curiously, (if you're that kind of person) the price of their already subsidized goods didn't go up 2.9%, but almost 10%. The reason for increasing hike by a factor of nearly four?
Michael Roth, owner of A Better Vending Co. in Broomfield, said his firm has increased prices "10 cents if not at least a quarter across the board" on soda.
He said the new tax put additional inventory-tracking demands on his company.
But, like Langdon, he said wholesaler price increases in prior years factored in to the price hikes as well.
"We get increases every year from our major suppliers," Roth said. "We don't go around every single year and raise prices, even though we should."
So when you hear the Right squeal about how big government is strangling the babies, remember that the real price of soda and candy is held artificially low by both subsidies and retailers who have lagged in passing on years wholesalers' price hikes. And kids, NEVER forget we have a really, really low state sales tax.