Author Archive

Political Year In Review On Devil’s Advocate Tonight

Posted by on Dec 28 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), Politics, PPC

Repressing what happened politically this year? Maybe just been too drunk to remember? Well, acceptance is the first step to recovery, so tune in to the Independence Institute’s public affairs tv show, Devil’s Advocate, tonight as host Jon Caldara is joined by Denver Post statehouse reporter Tim Hoover and Grand Junction Sentinel statehouse reporter Charles Ashby for a review of the 2012 political year in Colorado, and some pontification about the 2013 Colorado legislative session. That’s tonight at 8:30 on Colorado Public Television 12.

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Anti-Fracking Fools and Food Police on Devil’s Advocate Tonight

Posted by on Dec 21 2012 | energy, Idiot Box (TV Show), nanny state

Is tonight the magical third date with that certain someone special? You know what that means, right? Finally time to watch the Independence Institute’s public affairs television show Devil’s Advocate together. First, Independence Institute Energy Policy Center director Amy Oliver sits down with host Jon Caldara to discuss the increasingly threatening and aggressive behavior of anti-fracking protestors in Colorado. Then local author Karen Kataline swings by to discuss her new book, “Fatlash!: Food Police and the Fear of Thin.”

That’s tonight at 8:30 on Colorado Public Television 12, right after Colorado Inside Out at 8:00 featuring Independence Institute research director Dave Kopel.

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The Great Marijuana Debate On Devil’s Advocate

Posted by on Oct 18 2012 | Drug Policy, Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC, War on Drugs

Put fresh water in your favorite bong, stock up on Cheetos and get ready to rumble this Friday night as host Jon Caldara moderates a debate between conservatives over Colorado Amendment 64, the marijuana legalization amendment, on the Independence Institute’s public affairs tv show, Devil’s Advocate.

In the pro-64 corner is former Colorado Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Tom “The Tank” Tancredo. In the anti-64 corner, Weld County District Attorney and former U.S. Senate Candidate Ken “Cowboy Boots” Buck.

Don’t miss this one. That’s this Friday at 8:30PM on Colorado Television 12.

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Measure 2A: Who Doesn’t Like Denver’s Forever Property Tax Increase?

Posted by on Oct 11 2012 | denver, Denver City Council, Denver Measure 2A, PPC, Press, Taxes

If approved by voters in November, Denver Measure 2A would, among other things, remove property tax revenue limitations imposed by Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), resulting in a forever and unlimited tax increase for Denver property owners.

It’s more than obvious who wants this forever tax increase passed. Denver Mayor Hancock and his administration have been out making the case for homeowners to balance the city’s budget for them by raising their own taxes. The Denver Post was editorializing in favor of the idea before it was even referred to the ballot. The Denver Business Journal has reported on support for 2A from the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver (though oddly they couldn’t seem to find any opposition to report on, but more on that later). According to their September campaign finance report, the issue committee behind the Yes on 2A campaign, Moving Denver Forward, has received over $400,000 in donations to help put the squeeze on Denver property owners. The list of donors reads like a political class who’s who of bigger government advocates. $25,000 from the Denver firefighters union, another $25,000 each from the Denver Library Friends Foundation and Democratic Party funder Tim Gill, $10,000 each from VISIT Denver (the convention lobby) and left wing politcal funder Pat Stryker. Even the Teamsters Union managed to scrape up $5,000 for the cause.

Contributions from real estate developers and construction firms run six figures.

In contrast, the issue committee opposing Measure 2A, No Blank Check 2012, has raised a little over $2,500.

So a voter looking for information, or a reporter looking for a favorable comment should have little trouble finding the “pro” side of Measure 2A. But who is out there opposing this thing?

The Independence Institute to begin with. My work for the Institute on why 2A is a bad idea can be found here and here in the Denver Huffington Post, and my recent “pro/con” series with Mayor Hancock in the Wash Park Profile neighborhood newspaper is here:

Measure 2A would also fall hard on senior citizen homeowners living on fixed incomes. Their property taxes will go up, while their income remains flat. The Hancock administration tacitly acknowledges this in their proposal to spend the new tax money, which includes (the phrase): “Increase the city’s property-tax credit from $186/year to $372 for 4,000 low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities.”

Since this is new general fund money (discretionary spending), there is absolutely no guarantee that this is what it will actually go towards. Even so, what they leave out is that other low-income and fixed-income senior citizens will pay for the tax credits for those 4,000 people.

Writing on behalf of the Independence Institute, Joshua Sharf makes the case against Measure 2A in the Denver Post here. Writes Joshua:

The mayor’s proposal assumes that rising home values necessarily mean rising incomes. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Denver’s weekly income fell nearly 5 percent in 2011. The mayor’s mill levy override scheme would mean an immediate property tax increase of 10 percent for households who are still finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Joshua has also written on Measure 2A at the WhoSaidYouSaid blog.

Measure 2A is also opposed by former Denver City Councilwoman Susan Barnes-Gelt. Here’s what Gelt, a liberal Democrat, had to say in her Denver Post column:

Personnel costs comprise 70 percent of Denver’s operating budget and they escalate yearly. The current proposal restores employee furloughs but avoids long-term systemic changes to an arcane personnel system.

Gelt also had this to say recently on her regular appearance on Colorado Public Television 12:

Denver voters have a choice. Approve a blank check that never expires for higher taxes, or send Mayor Hancock back to the drawing board to craft a balanced initiative with a mix of reduced expenses and tax increases. 2A is bad for jobs, small business and homeowners. Vote NO.

Ben Gelt runs the No Blank Check 2012 campaign, which opposes Measure 2A and whose website states:

There is no limit to how much the City will collect through this tax increase. When property values go up, so will the tax revenue generated. The City ignored its task force by asking for higher taxes with no ceiling, prior to reducing expenses.

The Glendale/Cherry Creek Chronicle, a Denver neighborhood newspaper, recently editorialized against Measure 2A:

The voters are told Denver has a structural deficit which means even in bountiful times the city’s revenues can never meet its expenses. The obvious conclusion to the existence of a structural deficit is that Denver city government is unable to stop spending money it does not have. Why in the world would anyone want to give such a government $68 million per year more to squander?

In a Denver Business Journal guest opinion piece (hidden behind a subscriber pay wall) Tyler Smith and Scott Peterson from the Denver Metropolitan Commercial Association of Realtors (DMCAR) urge readers to “Defeat ballot measures that raise taxes” including Measure 2A.

And in the Denver Post’s Sunday Perspective section, Mark Ver Hoeve makes a compelling case against 2A:

For 2013, Mayor Michael Hancock has proposed a 3.9 percent increase in the General Fund, the city’s operating budget, or $964 million, up from $926 million in 2012. Tax revenue for 2013 is projected to be $945 million, a 3.5 percent increase. That’s right: Tax revenues are up and higher than the previous year’s budget, but the city wants to spend more.

And finally, the No on Denver 2A facebook page can be found here.

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Stephen Moore On Devil’s Advocate Tonight

Posted by on Oct 05 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), obama, Presidency

Friday night means the Independence Institute’s tv show, Devil’s Advocate. Tonight, host Jon Caldara is joined by Wall Street Journal columnist Stephen Moore for a look at the presidential race thus far and what we can expect going into November. That’s tonight at 8:30PM on Colorado Public Television 12.

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Independence Institute Writers in the News

Posted by on Aug 13 2012 | criminal justice, denver, Growth of Government, guns, Op-eds, PPC, Right to carry, Taxes

Gun laws, tax increases and the Californication of Republicans are all topics of recently published works by Independence Institute writers.

In USA Today, the Denver Post and National Review Online, Independence Institute research director Dave Kopel makes the case for both resisting calls for expanded gun control in the wake of the Aurora theater shooting and for not inadvertently making a celebrity of the killer.

Also in the Denver Post, guest writer joshua Sharf explains that Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s proposed permanent property tax increase lacks vision:

The mayor’s proposal assumes that rising home values necessarily mean rising incomes. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Denver’s weekly income fell nearly 5 percent in 2011. The mayor’s mill levy override scheme would mean an immediate property tax increase of 10 percent for households who are still finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Whole thing here.

In the Colorado Springs Gazette, senior fellow Barry Fagin advises Colorado Republican against Californicating themselves:

Do Republicans want to be like Democrats, or do they want to beat them? If Colorado is to avoid California’s fate, then Colorado should avoid California’s Republicans. They should hit economic issues much harder, and stop obsessing over problems that the federal government can’t solve, are fundamentally religious in nature, or are better addressed through cultural change and not the ballot box.

Read it all here.

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Obamacare Decision, Waldo Canyon Wildfire on Devil’s Advocate

Posted by on Jul 13 2012 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Idiot Box (TV Show), Necessary and Proper, obamacare, PPC, U.S. Constitution

Friday night means the Independence Institute’s public affairs television show Devil’s Advocate on Colorado Public Television 12. First, Independence Institute constitutional scholar Rob Natelson sits down with host Jon Caldara to discuss his amicus brief on the Necessary and Proper Clause of the U.S. Constitution in the recent Obamacare Supreme Court case and how that clause affected the rulings. Then Colorado Springs Gazette editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen swings by to talk about the Waldo Canyon wildfire. That’s tonight at 8:30PM on Colorado Public Television 12.

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Independence Institute Writers In the News

Posted by on Jul 10 2012 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, First Amendment, Health Care, obamacare, PPC

The Supreme Court Obamcare decisions and the first Amendment are topics of recently published works by Independence Institute writers.

In the Denver Post, Health Care Policy Center director Linda Gorman lays out some straightforward, market-based health care reforms should Congress attempt to replace and repeal Obamacare.  Writes Linda:

Advocates of Obamacare claim that unless we let the government (mis)manage even more of the health care system, there will no health safety net.

To the contrary, with patient-centered reforms, we can reduce ordinary health care costs for everyone, make insurance for extraordinary costs accessible and affordable, and provide an effective safety net for the poor.

Whole thing here.

In the Great Falls (Montana) Tribune, Rob Natelson writes on the importance of First Amendment freedoms when politicians, from both sides of the aisle, go gunning for media outlets they don’t like, using Great Britain as an example.  Writes Rob:

At a minimum, mainstream reporters have to mute what they write about sitting office holders so they can maintain access to sources. Less scrupulous reporters amplify messages promoted by favored politicos and dig up (or manufacture) dirt against political opponents.

Whole thing here.

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My State Rep Is Second-To-Last In The CUT Ratings!

Posted by on Jul 10 2012 | Politics, PPC, Purely Personal

Each year, the Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT) rates members of the legislature as friends or foes of Colorado taxpayers.  I am quite disappointed to see that for 2012 my own state representative from House District 4 in northwest Denver, Dan Pabon, was second-to-last with a CUT rating of 3.57 percent.  Seriously Dan, only second-to-last?  Kinda dropped the ball there didn’t you?  I’d have thought you would at least match Rep. John Soper’s 0.00 percent rating for a last place tie.  But I’ll go ahead and give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you accidentally voted the wrong way on a bill.

Anyway, as one of your constituents, I’d like to ask that you re-double your efforts for next year’s legislative session and see if you can’t get that CUT rating down to last place.  I know the competition is stiff, but make House District 4 proud.

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Kopel Explains Obamcare Decision on Devil’s Advocate

Posted by on Jun 29 2012 | Constitutional Law, Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC, supreme court

Looking forward to a Friday night full of passion, suspense and intrigue? C’mon, we all know that ‘aint going to happen. So go ahead and find the sweet spot on the couch and tune into the Independence Institute’s public affairs tv show Devil’s Advocate as host Jon Caldara is joined by Dave Kopel, constitutional law professor and attorney of record for two (count ‘em, two) Independence Institute amicus briefs in the Obamacare Supreme Court case, to dissect and explain the court’s rulings on the controversial health care law. That’s tonight at 8:30 PM on Colorado Public Television 12.

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