Archive for October 16th, 2009

Billions Short on Bureaucrats’ Wish List

That’s really how this morning’s Denver Post story should read:

The state would need an additional $8.5 billion per year in revenue to provide the level of services Coloradans want, a commission looking into the state’s long-term budget problems was told Thursday. That’s bigger than the $7.5 billion general fund, the state’s largest pot of money that funds most operating needs.  Even to reach a “middle” level of services, the state would need an additional $2 billion a year, members of the Long-Term Fiscal Stability Commission were told.

So how to we know this?  Who measure what Colorado really wants?  Why, the department heads:

Those estimates come from legislative analysts who added up the amounts that officials from various state agencies said would be needed to reach the level of services that Coloradans want.  (emphasis added -ed)

How the department heads determined “what Coloradoans want” is left the the readers’ imagination, but I’m guessing that the result more closely tracks what Colorado’s department heads want.  I’m also guessing that not too many of them came back with a report saying that they really could manage with less.  Whenever you ask a government department head how much he needs, the answer is, inevitably, “more.”

Note, by the way, that the $2 billion is still considerably larger than the decrease in tax revenue the government has had to deal with in this recession, and that a $8.5 billion increase would essentially double the size of state government.  That size, by the way, has been relatively static at about 8% of state GDP for over a decade.

Democrats on the committee naturally took up the legislative committee’s description of this wish list as, “what the people think they want.”

Perhaps most disgraceful of all was Rollie Heath’s suggestion to circumvent little things like democracy:

More controversial was his proposal to ask voters in 2010 to allow a 23-member commission appointed by the Legislature, governor and Colorado Supreme Court to examine constitutional spending requirements and limitations like the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and Amendment 23.  That group would have the power then to refer any proposed changes to the 2012 ballot without needing to get legislative approval or collect voter signatures and would be exempt from a state law requiring all ballot measures be limited to just a single subject, Heath proposed.

This is bizarre on many levels, not least the complete abdication of legislative responsibility, as well as an admission of the futility and uselessness of the commission that Heath is chairing at the moment.  The inclusion of representatives from the Supreme Court on a policy-making body would, I suppose, just formalize an inappropriate role they’ve increasingly taken on in recent years.

So here you have it.  Even as your salaries and job options are shrinking, the legislative Democrats are trying to find new ways to raise your taxes, to pay for their wish list, without having to take responsibility for it.

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$691,000 Per Job

Although the Denver Post doesn’t do the math, that’s how much each job created in Colorado has cost the Federal Government, er, you.

$583 million in Recovery Act funds have flowed to 96 different companies, individuals and other entities such as housing authorities.

Though Colorado was ranked as the top job creator among states — given TeleTech’s hiring of 4,231 people to staff a series of call centers — only 379 of those employees worked in Englewood. The rest were scattered throughout the country, such as in London, Ky., and Ocala, Fla.

So, it’s not 4695 jobs, it’s 843 jobs here in Colorado, and that’s if we include the 379 that have since gone away from TeleTech.

$583 million spent, 843 jobs.  Quite a deal you made for us there, Rep. DeGette and Sen. Bennet.

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Why We Miss the Rocky

CNN and the Detroit Free Press remind me of why we miss the Rocky Mountain News.

Years ago, the News had a foreign affairs editor named Holger Jensen.  Jensen was relentlessly anti-Israel, reliably making excuses for her attackers, and faulting Israel for defending herself.  His fact-checking was always a little suspect, but in April 2002, Jensen went too far.  He reprinted offensive excerpts from an Amos Oz interview purported to be with Ariel Sharon.  In fact, the interview was not with then-Prime Minister Sharon, but with another soldier.

This was, you remember, mere weeks after the murderous Passover Bombing in Netanya.  Israel’s response, which was drawing howls of indignation, and Jensen probably thought the timing was right.

The timing couldn’t have been worse.  The Rocky had finally had enough, and Jensen was forced to retire.

The *best* respose so far to the Limbaugh Quote Fabrications has been a sort of looking-down-at-one’s-feet-while-poking-the-ground-with-one’s-toe that you’d get from a kindergartener.  More typical has been a pro forma, “sorry,” while skipping away to the next maladventure, typical of a sixth grader.

Which is what you get when the Adult Supervision has left the room.

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