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"Businesses can't vote themselves more money..."

...but the Colorado legislature can vote to grow government. Some Democrats claim they are simply ending exemptions - and NOT raising taxes - by pursuing $148 million in revenue from businesses. On the floor of the House of Representatives, state Rep. B.J. Nikkel has enough of the word games...

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Hope, change and recession, Hickenlooper-style

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper considers himself an Obama-style leader, something that should give Colorado voters the shakes as Hickenlooper seeks the governor's office. More evidence was on display Thursday during Hickenlooper's interview by David Sirota on AM-760.

Hickenlooper dodged questions about whether he supports tax increases. As worrisome is what Hickenlooper DID SAY, which you can hear for yourself at about 22 minutes into the podcast link here and read below...

"And I think, I think the campaign will come more back to an issue of how do we work our way out of the recession and I think it's to a large extent independent of taxes, right? If we are able, I mean this is a hard thing for a lot of people to get, but it's, a recession like this really is driven by people's mental state, right?"

Sirota tried to walk back Hickenlooper from this ledge, but it's clear from even the full context of Hickenlooper's remarks (see below) that he is pitching himself as the optimistic leader, who will get us past partisan wrangling and, as he put it, “create a context where people can believe in themselves.”

Sound familiar? It's the same spiel that helped get Barack Obama elected president in 2008.

Here's some free advice for gubernatorial candidate Hickenlooper: tell us what POLICIES you would pursue and whether those include TAX INCREASES. Respect the voters' intelligence and our MENTAL STATE will be much improved.


SIROTA: Is there a political fear that the Republican anti-tax zealots, that has been so successful electorally, will become the central defining issue of this upcoming gubernatorial campaign?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, they're certainly going to try and make it that. And I think, I think the campaign will come more back to an issue of how do we work our way out of the recession and I think it's to a large extent independent of taxes, right? If we are able, I mean this is a hard thing for a lot of people to get, but it's, a recession like this really is driven by people's mental state, right? When people become fearful - and I think both parties have a segment, a portion, of their party that is about fear, fearfulness; and a portion that's about opportunity. And that what we have to do is get people away from the fear and towards opportunity.

We have no less capacity today to make concrete or steel, or to create jobs and have businesses grow than we did three years ago. What we lost was the belief in ourselves and our confidence that we, you know, could have a system that works. Suddenly, the banks are going out of business. Every newspaper, every TV station is saying, every radio station, every talk show host, are saying, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling.”

Suddenly, unemployment went up four percent. Sales tax dropped 20 percent, right? People stopped improving their homes, stopped adding on, fixing a bathroom, adding on to a porch, far out of proportion to the actual job losses. I think that's the crucial issue here is how do we, I think this campaign will come back down to, how do we work our way out of this, how do we create a context where people believe in themselves?

SIROTA: I hope I'm not hearing you saying what John McCain's adviser, Phil Gramm had said, controversially, on the campaign trail. Phil Gramm who had said that we are really only in a mental recession. And he ended up being fired about that...I don't hear you...

HICKENLOOPER: No no, I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is that people's attitudes are connected to the economy. It's not just a mental recession, right? Obviously, people lost jobs. People can't make their car payments, you know, getting evicted. We see divorce rates rising, domestic violence. I mean, there is nothing just mental about this. But the country's attitude is very relevant to whether we're...and when we do come out of this...we're seeing signs that we're coming out of the recession right now, as we come out of that recession, do we come out kind of laggardly, just kind of a slow bump, which is what people are saying now?

I think Colorado is poised, a lot, through the work we've done, that we should come out of this much more strongly, and we should be able to, all the work that Gov. Ritter did in terms of attracting renewable energy jobs and creating a new, I mean a) those are real jobs but b) that creates a confidence and, again, a sense of optimism that will, I think, drive us forward.

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Romanoff ad - All that's missing is the laugh track!

Andrew Romanoff launches a long, uncomfortably dorky ad that implies that U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (or is that some other Senator? - couldn't they get Doogie?) is in the pocket of big moneyed interests.

The e-mail announcing the video, "The Best Senator Money Can't Buy," even has a helpful link to Bennet's contributions from political action committees, totaling more than $600,000. Romanoff has said he won't accept PAC money.

Buuuuut, of course, unemployed people
are certainly less likely to make political contributions. Aaaand, if you look at the link most of the PAC contributions are well under the limit an individual may contribute. Pesky businesses interested in growing market share and employing the people! Drat!! Not to worry - no one with anything better to do would stick around for 2 minutes of this, that's for sure.

Six months to a Colorado primary that most Dems never wanted...all we need here is a laugh track!

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Jared "Public Option" Polis strikes again


In the video below, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado makes the case for passing health care reform, WITH a public option, counting on passage with 51 votes in the U.S. Senate (given that the Dems have lost the 60-vote filibuster-proof majority).

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Passing something HUGE like heath care WITH A PUBLIC OPTION under reconciliation? The same reconciliation which has been used to pass budgets with at least 51 votes so the government doesn't shut down? Now you want to pass something this big under that because you can't get the votes to do it like it was intended? Sweet.

Now that you have fewer votes in the Senate, let's put the plan farther out there now that you're changing the vote threshold.

When you don't like the rules, change them. Good plan. That's what winners do, oh wait, that's what cheaters do.

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Econ 101 for Speaker Carroll? Or just kindergarten lesson?

Colorado House Speaker Terrance Carroll's rhetoric that equated business people opposing tax hikes to "special-interest cronies" of the GOP was called out today by Chuck Plunkett of The Denver Post as "silly class warfare."

Econ 101: Higher taxes on businesses will eventually be paid by consumers (i.e., all of us). Kindergarten lesson: sticks and stones may break some bones but name calling won't create jobs!

"I've got good people," said Mark Hamouz of Lonco Inc. in Denver, speaking at a recent statehouse rally opposing a dozen proposed tax hikes. "We're down to cutting the bone anymore to some of our employees. We'd hate to take the next step if we don't have to."

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Small businesses don't like taxes . . . What a surprise!

I love the metaphor of Colorado's small businesses being the goose that laid the golden egg . . . So true, kill the economic engine and it won't produce any taxes at all.

UPDATE: The Colorado House today passed eight of the twelve proposed tax hikes.

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Mayor Hickenlooper in "Sprawling from Grace"

"Sprawling from Grace" is a 2008 documentary that claims to explore "the ravages of American suburban sprawl" and how we are "trapped behind the wheels of our automobiles," according to the DVD case.

Among those interviewed is Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. He does not appear in this clip online, but it gives you a sense of the tone throughout (cars BAD, mass transit GOOD)...

Below are two of Hickenlooper's on-camera statements, which lead us to wonder how he plans to travel Colorado (running for governor) in the suburbs around Denver and every other part of the state where folks use their cars and trucks to get from A to B.

"If you really begin looking at the roots of why we've had this incredible increase in vehicle-miles traveled, in number of car trips per day, per family - I mean we're up around 13 or 14 car trips per family per day; to me unfathomable until you actually look at people's, you know, our lifestyles have become so segmented," said Hickenlooper in one clip.

The chief salesman of FasTracks (which faces a projected $2.5 billion shortfall and doubts about environmental claims) gets downright dreamy about transit-oriented development...

"I'd love to imagine flying over in a small aircraft - a very energy-efficient small aircraft - and you would see these little pockets of these villages of eight- and ten- and twelve- and fourteen- and, who knows, eighteen-story buildings, all around, each one around a transit stop," said Hickenlooper.

"So that you'd have the maximum opportunity for people to get what they want without having to get in a car. You know, as young people move out here, and aren't growing up with cars, the probability that they could live in one of these little nodes, in one of these little villages - and have a social circle that's connected, almost like jewels on a necklace - where they could go from one to the other, and have a high likelihood that they would have someone interesting. Let's say it's a guy they want to date, if it's a woman or whatever, but their social life could be, not have to go be pulled off in some direction where you need a car."

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