Archive for the 'Amendment 49' Category

Now You Can Own a Piece of YouTube History!

Posted by on Oct 21 2008 | Amendment 49

By now I’m sure you’ve seen the popular Amendment 49 – the Ivory Tower Explanation YouTube video, so you are familiar with the 3 stars of that video: Susie the State Worker, Bernie the Bureaucrat, and Larry the Lobbyist. In order to raise a little dough, we have put them up for sale on Ebay! Which means this is your opportunity to own the sock puppets that captured the hearts of the YouTube community. To help raise awareness of the auction, we made another video. Help spread the word – the popular, and friendly puppets, are up for sale!

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Lobbyists Against Amendment 49? Of Course!

Posted by on Oct 16 2008 | Amendment 49

Big things have been going down in the world of Amendment 49 lately. First, there is a hysterical new site someone created called Lobbyists Against Amendment 49. The (hopefully) sarcastic website states why lobbyists hate Amendment 49 so much,

The state government does us a BIG favor—they collect our dues money for us—straight out of our members’ paychecks. The government then bundles that money for us and writes us a check. It saves us gobs of cash and hassle to just have the taxpayers handle all of that expensive accounting.

Go take a look and laugh out loud at the outlandish case against 49.

Secondly, one of 49′s biggest and most well-known proponents, former Senator Hank Brown, has been quite vocal in his support of 49 lately. He recently recorded a 30 second radio spot outlining the broad array of support 49 has, that I just heard on 99.5 the Mountain earlier today.

Senator Brown also went on the Mike Rosen show to discuss 49. Here is some of the audio, courtesy of Mike Rosen and 850 KOA.

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Add Another Newspaper to the List

Posted by on Oct 16 2008 | Amendment 49

To me, the Wall Street Journal is the Holy Grail of newspapers. It’s got more clout than most papers, and often times prints articles 3 or 4 grades above my reading ability. So imagine how pleased I was when I saw this endorsement yesterday morning.

…many liberals understand that workers shouldn’t be coerced into subsidizing political causes they don’t agree with. In particular, income should not be intercepted by a third party — in this case withheld by the government — before it gets to the worker’s bank account.

In other words, the Wall Street Journal gets it — it’s simply a good government measure.

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Colorado Amendment 49 in Any Way You Want It

Posted by on Oct 15 2008 | Amendment 49

No matter how much time you’ve got or your level of reading comprehension, the Independence Institute has got you covered when it comes to learning about Amendment 49, Ethical Standards. For instance, if you’ve only got 2 minutes, take a look at our quick, academic explanation involving me and a few of my friends. (Keep a dictionary handy while trying to digest that video).

If you have 30 minutes, and want to go a bit more in depth and a little less sophisticated, check out the Independent Thinking episode, “What is Amendment 49?”

Finally, for those college types that can read, we’ve got Ben DeGrow’s Issue Backgrounder, “Amendment 49 and Government Payroll Reform.”

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I Didn’t Take the Offer

Posted by on Oct 08 2008 | Amendment 49

I was offered a fair amount to pull Amendment 49 off this fall’s ballot by its opposition. I was tempted. But I just couldn’t do it. The offer did spur me to make an ask to help our educational effort on Amendment 49:

October 3, 2008

Dear Friend of the Independence Institute,

Just yesterday, I received an offer the union goons thought I couldn’t refuse!

A backroom deal was struck between unions, leading political figures and business coalitions. The unions would pull their four anti-business measures, if the business coalitions would chip in $3 million to defeat three initiatives (47, 49, and 54) considered “anti-union.”

Knowing that Amendment 49 has received every major newspaper’s endorsement, I was offered a “gift” of $800,000 to pull Amendment 49 off the ballot. As tempting as the promise of cash was, I could not in good conscience accept their buy-off.

It’s a matter of principle AND ethics.

Last week I made an offer to pull Amendment 49. In return, I asked Governor Ritter to simply rescind his executive order allowing unions to represent state workers in contract negotiations.

My offer was called a “stunt.”

If you aren’t familiar with Amendment 49, the Ethical Standards initiative, it’s quite simple. Amendment 49 prohibits state and local government agencies from bundling money from public employees’ paychecks and delivering the cash to special interests that use it to lobby politicians.

Ethical Standards is a good-government issue that has earned the endorsement of several community leaders (including former U.S. Senator Hank Brown), many community and business groups, AND nearly every major newspaper in Colorado. I’ve enclosed copies of a few for you!

You’ve probably seen the television ads attacking Amendment 49 and two unrelated amendments. And you may have received one of the multiple mailings that assert these initiatives will somehow harm teachers, nurses, firefighters and the police.

Amendment 49 just puts the burden of dues collections where it belongs, on the backs of the unions and special interests.

The Independence Institute believes that government should be using our tax dollars and our civil servants’ time to provide crucial public services, not to funnel money to political organizations.

As you know, the Independence Institute is a free market think tank that researches alternatives to increased government, higher taxes and promotes individual liberties. In the course of our 24-year history, we’ve hit a lot of well-funded roadblocks that profit from more government.

The Independence Institute doesn’t have the deep pockets to fight back with mass advertising, but what we do have are grounded principles.

Unfortunately, the unions have an additional $3 million (thanks to the business coalitions) to defeat Ethical Standards. The National Education Association and Service Employees International Union each has contributed over a million dollars to the effort, with other unions not far behind.

Amendment 49 was an idea generated at the Independence Institute in 2006. We started at the local level. Since 2007, a dozen county governments—as well as a handful of cities and judicial districts—have enacted the policy. This year we intensified our educational efforts to inform citizens across Colorado about Ethical Standards.

These endorsements, have reassured us that government should be using our tax dollars and civil servants’ time to provide crucial public services, not to funnel money to political organizations.

Contrary to what the opponents say, the Ethical Standards project has not been heavily funded by “multi-national corporations.” That is why I’m writing you today.

The Independence Institute needs your support! Won’t you consider making a contribution to assist us in our efforts to educate Coloradans about this important good-government measure?

Every dollar counts! Your gift of $100 will allow us to buy a 30-second educational radio spot. A gift of $375 will buy another 12’ X 24’ educational billboard. $500 pays for a 60-second drive time educational radio spot. And $1,000 will allow us to put up a 14’ X 48’ educational billboard.

The detractors have $9 million to spend to defeat Amendment 49. And much of this money has been funneled through public payrolls using your tax money.

Help us educate other Coloradans about Ethical Standards. It’s not about unions, but it will as the Denver Post states, “stop the blatant conflict of interest that now allows politicians to collect dues that are used to elect and re-elect those very same politicians.”

With the election just one month away, we don’t have much time to educate citizens about this important measure. Sending your gift today will help make a difference! I’ve enclosed a reply form and envelope for your convenience.

Thank you in advance for your support of the Independence Institute and our work to promote good government measures.

Most sincerely,

Jon Caldara
President

P.S. Your gift, no matter what the size, will help us stand up to the special interests that influence our elected officials and increased government spending.

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Amendment 49 Has Been Quite the Attention Whore

Posted by on Oct 07 2008 | Amendment 49

Apparently, Amendment 49 has been taking after a certain someone who runs a think tank and relishes the spotlight. Channel 7 decided that 49 is getting a lot of attention and I agree with them. It’s been at the forefront of debate recently and with that comes frequent mischaracterizations. Take for example the argument in the Channel 7 piece. Firefighter Joel Heinemann states,

I have control of my paycheck currently. It actually takes away control of my paycheck. I can no longer have things that are taken out currently taken out if that amend were to pass.

Now if he were to make this argument, say during Civil War times, or even 50 years ago, he might have a case. But making that argument in the 21st century, with automatic deductions and online banking is absurd. 49 does not take any control away whatsoever. If he wants to make payments to his favorite political group and lobbyists, he can — in the same manner he pays all his bills online; or he can simply write a check! Either way, it is unethical for any political group to use the governmental payroll system as their collection agency.

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Hank Brown on Amendment 49

Posted by on Oct 06 2008 | Amendment 49

Hank Brown’s penned this fantastic opinion piece for the Sunday Denver Post:

Should taxpayers be forced to subsidize the collection of political contributions and payments to lobbyists?

All of us would defend a citizen’s right to lobby government or donate to a campaign. But forcing taxpayers to subsidize someone else’s collection and payment of lobbying funds is an entirely different question. Amendment 49 establishes “Ethical Standards for Public Payroll System.”

Both the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News call it a simple good government reform. I agree!

Government shouldn’t be the bagman for special interests. Amendment 49 stops government from bundling and funneling money to special interests and their lobbyists through our payroll system.

Currently, many political groups, some unions and some not, collect their political contributions from government employees right through the payroll system that you and I pay for. Governments at many levels in Colorado pass this money to political groups by directly writing them checks. These groups then turn around and use the money to elect candidates, lobby policy makers, and even give campaign contributions right back to the same politicians who signed the checks.

When endorsing 49 the Rocky Mountain News said, “Government provides a free dues collection service for major lobbyists.” The Post said, “Amendment 49 will stop the blatant conflict of interest that now allows politicians to collect dues that are used to elect and re-elect those very same politicians.”

Under Ethical Standards, if a political organization wants a government employee to give them money, they will simply have to go to that employee and ask them for it.In other words they’ll have to do it the way all other political groups get their money — from their members directly, not from government. It is unethical for government to be the banker, accountant, and collection agent for lobbyists. Instead government should be using our limited tax dollars and our precious civil servants’ time, to provide crucial public services, not funneling cash.

Some opponents of Ethical Standards say 49 will hurt government employees’ ability to give money to their causes. Nothing in 49 stops any employee from giving as much as she wants to toward any organization she supports.

Those who like receiving our workers’ money claim it will be an inconvenience for employees. But how can that be? In this day of online banking, automatic withdraws, credit cards and debit cards, arranging regular payments to any organization is a breeze.

The silliest claim made is that this will somehow make it tougher for firefighters, cops, teachers or nurses to do their job. The Grand Junction Sentinel calls that “laughable,” the News calls the claim, “nonsense.”

This simple reform doesn’t change how unions or membership groups work or organize. It doesn’t interfere with workers” rights to give political money to any group. And it doesn’t affect private employers. Amendment 49 is only a restriction on government. The Post called it, “a modest ethical rule.”

This is also not an untested idea. Currently a dozen counties, representing over half the state’s population, have already put this language on their books.

Amendment 49 helps keep lobbyists in line. Vote yes. Get more information at www.EthicalStandardsNow.com.

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What is Amendment 49? Tune In Tonight to Find Out!

Posted by on Oct 03 2008 | Amendment 49, Idiot Box (TV Show)

A scheduling change for Must See TV: We’ve had a bit of a schedule change for tonight’s Independent Thinking. Due to early voting, we feel it is important to analyze a key ballot measure. Tonight we discuss Amendment 49, Colorado’s Ethical Standards Initiative. Amendment 49 is very simple; it prohibits governments from bundling money from public employees’ paychecks and delivering the cash to special interests who use it to lobby politicians. Need a more simple explanation, one that even sock puppets can understand? Check out our video.

II policy analyst Ben DeGrow and teacher Michael Alcorn join me for the “debate.” I can’t really call it a debate because the opponents wouldn’t come on the show. No matter how often I ask; no matter sweetly I ask — even bringing flowers and chocolates; the left still rejects all my invitations. Since no opponents had the courage to defend their position, we challenge each other and utimately all come to the same conclusion that the Rocky Mountain News, Boulder Daily Camera, Denver Post, Pueblo Chieftain, Colorado Springs Gazette, NFIB, NCLA, Colorado Farm Bureau, Hank Brown, Bill Owens and many more did. Amendment 49 is good government. Tune in tonight at 7:30 p.m. to KBDI Channel 12; repeated next Tuesday evening at 5 p.m.

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“The Camera Supports a ‘Yes’ Vote on 49″

Posted by on Oct 02 2008 | Amendment 49

Hell got just a little bit colder. As if the Denver Post endorsement wasn’t enough, the paper for the state’s most liberal city endorsed Amendment 49! The Boulder Daily Camera came out in favor of 49 saying,

Amendment 49, we are told, would make it impossible for hard-working Coloradans to do their jobs in areas like firefighting and nursing. We don’t buy it. The Camera supports a “yes” vote on 49…

I know, I know. You nearly fell off your seat right? So did I. But what really strikes me about this is that they truly get the issue; and they refuse to fall for the scare-monger tactics being employed by the opposition. They go on to say,

Quite simply: Our municipalities needn’t be collection agents for unions. The unions can bill their members — or set up a payment plan — on their own. We support our firefighters; we don’t think a bill or payment plan, rather than a payroll deduction, will keep them from doing their jobs.

So let’s get this straight. Amendment 49 has been endorsed by nearly every major daily in Colorado, including, but not limited to:

  • The Denver Post
  • The Rocky Mountain News
  • The Boulder Daily Camera
  • The Colorado Springs Gazette
  • The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
  • Pueblo Chieftan
  • Longmont Times-Call
  • Loveland Reporter-Herald
  • …and the list goes on, and on, and on…

    It’s disingenuous to pigeon hole 49 with other amendments when it’s 49 that has garnished support from across the political spectrum. No other amendment on the ballot this year has this type of wide ranging support; and for one simple reason: It’s just good, ethical government.

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    Colorado Amendment 49: The Ivory Tower Explanation

    Posted by on Oct 01 2008 | Amendment 49

    We’ve been called the “Ivory Tower Bunch.” You damn right. We are a sophisticated, over-educated, aristocratic group here at I.I. And to prove it, I’ve come up with a way to explain Amendment 49 in just 2 minutes… in which only the most refined and cultured would understand.

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