Are there any adults left in the right wing of the Colorado Republican Party?
The whiny political toddlers of the state tea party are having a full blown Trumper Tantrum over a bi-partisan attempt to fix Colorado’s crumbling roads.
The timing couldn’t be worse. After years of ugly political kick-boxing in the Colorado Legislature, Democrats and Republicans have miraculously offered a bi-partisan solution to raise $3.5 billion to keep state highways and byways from sliding into third-world status. It calls for raising the state sales tax 1 penny on every dollar’s purchase. It seriously lowers license-plate fees and raises only about half of what’s needed for overdue road construction and repair.
One damn penny when you spend one damn dollar. And the whiny tea party brats aren’t having it.
Led by the apparently tanked thinkers at Golden’s Independence Institute, the state’s pied pipers of parsimony, the tin-foil hat brigade has begun their own statewide campaign. They want to ask voters to force the Legislature to spend billions on state roads — without raising any taxes. They demand lawmakers steal the money from other parts of the budget.
It’s titled, “Fix Our Damn Roads.”
It’s damn dangerous nonsense, is what it is. If you’ve overlooked a few things, let me point them out:
• This is not a grass-roots effort to take back state government being driven over the edge by drunken liberals under the gold dome. Colorado’s state government has long been a bunch of notorious tightwads. They spend state money like it’s their own, because it is. Colorado has never, ever risen past average for state taxing and spending.
• The Independence Institute is a affable confederacy of crackpots who consider their brand of esoteric anarchy a breath of fresh political air. In reality, the likes of crazy-ass Tom “Nuke ‘em” Tancredo and crazier-ass John “Ten-Commandments” Andrews are the engines of political flatulence stinking up Colorado’s venerable Republican Party. It’s the party of John Love and Ralph Carr.
• The Independence Institute is the bent think tank that has thunk up previous gems like essentially ending any and all gun control. Their mission is to crush any politician who even thinks about wild gun regulations like, oh, universal background checks. They spotlight their cause with an occasional confab called, “Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Party.” There, the frat pack peels off a few rounds, throws back a few shots and smokes a few cigars in jovial Ayn Rand fellowship.
• They never met a charter school they didn’t like, no matter how miserably they fail. They’ve twisted school board elections to promote charter madness. Obamacare? The only thing that makes them crazier than laws trying to keep guns out of the hands of mass murderers is legislation that keeps poor people out of pricey emergency rooms by getting them in to see doctors before it happens.
• Their brand of government goes way beyond what Colorado has long known as conservatism. With a charming chuckle and a clever quip, they endlessly try to convince anyone that things like mass transit is a communistic cancer, eating away at Colorado’s last chance to have a 20-lane autobahn right through the center of Denver. Bike paths? The work of ISIS.
• They honestly believe that the state’s public schools are awash in wasted money, thrown away on lavish things like teachers salaries than bump into the $50k range after decades of service and expensive college-degrees.
That’s who wants Colorado to fix the damn roads with a budget hamstrung by the TABOR constitution conundrum they helped inflict on the state. It’s an idea so damn good that no other state has gone there in the 20 years it’s destroyed Colorado’s infrastructure.
Here’s what they won’t tell you: Real Colorado Republican conservatives have been in the thick of the state budget with Democrats for decades. They’re hardly a tax-and-spend bunch. Most come from rural roots planted in Colorado farms, ranches and small businesses. They don’t spend their days in front of spreadsheets at some delusional stink tank in Golden. They run real businesses and have real lives in a real world. They know that if you don’t fix a leaky barn roof now, you’ll spend way more in the future — and then lose your hay.
Unlike these damn fools who think they shouldn’t have to fix the damn roof because they had to pay for the damn groceries, the adults at the Capitol know you have to do both. Being a grown-up is damn hard.
So state lawmakers have chiseled the budget to bare bones. In a state where asking voters to raise sales taxes a damn penny on a damn dollar is seen as suffering from acute political incontinence, Colorado Republicans and Democrats went there this week by offering the bi-partisan House Bill 1242.
And they got petulant pout. These people actually think that the relative paltry sum that Colorado spends on film-industry incentives and bus service to ski areas will pay to add lanes for cars-only on every road in the state.
They want to turn Colorado into one of the states that it seems like everyone in the country is escaping from to move here. If you think their brand of living in a cave and sleeping all night in your recliner with a cocked gun in your lap is a good time, move to Montana.
I don’t want to give up my state to libertarian extremists.
I don’t know yet if I’ll support the tax for roads measure. I want to see where the money will go, and I want assurances it’ll go there.
But I know I will happily give my Colorado government, that is made up of my neighbors from all over the state, my damn penny to fix my damn roads so I can damn well get to where I’m going.
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