Diary

Another Forty Years Wandering in the Wilderness

Colorado Republicans have taken a severe beating over the past four years. During this time, the following elected government entities went from Republican to Democrat control.

* Governor (2006)
* State Senate (2004)
* State House (2004)
* Both U.S. Senators (2004, 2008)
* 3 U.S. House seats (2004, 2008)

In addition, in 2008, for the first time since 1992, Colorado’s electoral votes went to the Democratic candidate. This change from Republican to Democrat control of government follows the general direction of our federal government. It was also in 1992 when Republicans finally broke the stronghold Democrats had held over the U.S. legislature for the previous 40 years. Many called this the Republican’s 40 years in the wilderness (in reference to the Biblical Hebrews who wandered in the wilderness for 40 years after leaving exile in Egypt).

Currently, only two U.S. House districts in Colorado are held by Republicans. One of those is District 5, which contains what is considered the conservative stronghold in the state; the city of Colorado Springs.

The Colorado Springs government has now thrown off all pretense of fiscal restraint. This began with the recent United States Conference of Mayors report on Mainstreet Economic Recovery. According to an article at Complete Colorado, mayors in cities across Colorado are requesting $2.25 billion from the federal government for infrastructure projects. This city of Colorado Springs has requested more than half of this sum for projects including,

* Colorado Springs Airport Solar Array Project
* Wind Turbine for Fire Station 21
* Hancock Avenue Housing Development
* Purchase 16 Buses
* Fountain Creek Improvements Eco-Fit Park for wetland development, drop structures and education

One could be puzzled why what is considered our most conservative city would request a one-and-one-quarter-billion-dollar handout from the Federal Government for infrastructure improvements, but on Tuesday we find the reason: The City of Colorado Springs simply can’t make ends meet because of the city’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) law that was passed in 1991. This requires the city to return revenues collected over a specified amount to the taxpayers.

The Sustainable Funding Committee recommendations include,

repealing the city’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, extending a property tax that’s set to expire and letting the city keep up to $1.2 million in property taxes that otherwise would have to be refunded to taxpayers.

There are some that are opposed to repealing the city’s TABOR law, which is similar to the state law by the same name passed a year later. Perry Swanson reports from the Colorado Springs Gazette,

Several citizen groups are already organizing to defeat an attempt to repeal TABOR. Among them is Citizens for Cost-Effective Government, the group that led a fight against a countywide sales tax increase defeated in November.

There was also an attempt to repeal the statewide version on the November ballot, but it was also defeated. All across the state, the voters rejected attempts to repeal their right to approve tax increases, yet our most conservative large city in Colorado continues to seek more revenue rather than learn to live within their means.

It is good to see there are still some groups that continue the fight for fiscal restraint, but if we ultimately lose the battle in our most conservative areas, we’re going to be wandering around in that wilderness for quite a long time again. That means those who support limited government and fiscal restraint must now work together. It is time we draw the proverbial line in the sand and say,

This far, and no further.

It’s time we also demanded the same thing from our elected representatives. If we don’t, it very well could be another 40 years before we break the Democrats’ hold over us.

Night Twister