1. Taxing Ballot Questions
2. C.U.T. Award
3. Legislative Oversight Committee of the Health Benefits Exchange
1. Next week the ballots will be mailed out for the 2011 election. There are several tax issues before the voters here in Larimer County. Between the statewide increases in sales and income taxes (Proposition 103) a countywide sales tax for the jail, and a Thompson School District property tax increase, I calculate that these measures will cost most families in my area anywhere from $250 to $850 a year, depending on income, spending habits, and home value.
The school district property tax increase will add $80 for every $100,000 in home value. A $250,000 home will see a $200/year tax increase. A taxable income of $85,000 will translate into $315 in additional state income taxes.
Just about every advocate for higher taxes say their tax is only a small amount, but it all adds up to a significant dent in a family’s income, and these increases will be on top of all the other taxes we already pay (the only exception is the county jail tax, which is an extension of an existing tax now scheduled to sunset).
I cannot support any of these increases in our taxes. Families cannot afford it, and it is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. We cannot tax our way to prosperity anymore than the government can spend our way to prosperity. Both policies lead to more of the economic stagnation that we find ourselves in right now.
We need an all out effort to get the government out of the way and let the private sector flourish. To build the confidence and fiscal integrity that is essential for a healthy economy we need lower taxes and much less government interference in our private lives.
I will be voting no on all the tax increases on this year’s ballot.
2. I apply these same concepts of governance to my voting decisions in the Colorado Senate. Consequently, the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, at their annual CUT Awards Breakfast tomorrow morning, will give me their “Taxpayer Champion” award for 2011.
3. As a part of the Legislative Oversight Committee of the Health Benefits Exchange I sent a letter to the Denver Post this week, taking issue with their editorial earlier this week. The Post essentially told the Republicans on the committee to stop asking tough questions and simply approve grant applications for the exchange. Most of my response they did print, which can be found here: http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_19048656  <http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_19048656 >.
Curiously, they re-wrote the next to last paragraph. It did not substantially change the article, but, for the record, here is the original paragraph:
I suggest that the POST – and the Exchange Board – take note of the fact that the term “rubber stamp” appears nowhere in SB200. The bipartisan legislative oversight committee will provide substantive oversight on everything the Board sends our way — and that includes full scrutiny for any grant application proposing a $200,400 salary ($225,916 with benefits) for the executive director and compensation in excess of $100,000 for fifteen additional staff positions. Ironically, the PPACA itself expressly prohibits “excessive executive compensation” for Exchange staff at Sec. 1311(d)(5)(B).