Rich People Need More Money, Too

Senator Ken Salazar is angry with Senate Republicans for holding up a vote on a proposed minimum wage increase unless Democrats agree to a cut in the estate tax as well (a vote either way could come on Friday as congress prepares for its August recess) According to Peter Roper of The Pueblo Chieftain:

Salazar said he was willing to look at reforming the estate tax, but said it affected less than 1 percent of the nation’s taxpayers.

“And to hold an increase in the federal minimum wage hostage to a tax cut that affects so few is hypocrisy of the worst kind,” he said.

You know how every once in awhile you open up your credit card statements and realize that you are wayyy further in debt than you first thought? That’s sort of how things appear in the federal government. As USA Today reports, the $318 billion federal deficit for 2005 is the number that the public often sees; an audited financial statement, however, shows the true federal deficit might be $760 billion in 2005 and as much as $3.5 trillion once Social Security and Medicare are figured in to the equation.

Suddenly those credit card statements don’t look so bad, do they?
Supporters of two proposed ballot initiatives turned in about 108,000 petition signatures yesterday. As April M. Washington of the Rocky Mountain News reports, measures to curb the influence of lobbyists at the state Capitol and to limit the terms of judges both submitted more than the required number of signatures to get their measures onto the ballot.

Meanwhile, a proposed initiative to ban gay marriage in Colorado appears to have the signatures to make it onto the ballot, although a measure to prohibit so-called “domestic partnerships” may not make it. The gay marriage ban amendment is largely symbolic, since gay marriage is already prohibited in Colorado by state statute.

Colorado Confidential will have continuing coverage of the ballot measures throughout the fall.

Colorado business groups are urging business leaders in other states to oppose proposed ballot initiatives in those states that are similar to the ill-fated “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” passed in Colorado in 1992. As Will Shanley of The Denver Post reports, a letter from Colorado business groups doesn’t pull any punches:

“If it passes, TABOR will push Maine to the edge of the cliff as it did in Colorado,” reads part of a letter sent by a coalition called Concerned Colorado Business Leaders to the Maine Motor Transportation Association. “You have a chance to act now – save your state from years of artificial budgetary wrangling and save yourselves the cost of inevitable, expensive TABOR- reform fight.”

The Colorado business alliance includes the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association. The July 14 letter – which describes TABOR as “a proven failure in Colorado” – is more pointed than the tone taken by the Denver chamber in its successful campaign in support of Referendum C.

Peggy Lamm’s campaign manager says a SurveyUSA poll that was released earlier this week showing Ed Perlmutter with a 20 point lead in the CD7 primary should be discounted because it does not include people who already voted absentee.

Republican campaign consultant Katy Atkinson apparently agrees, telling the Rocky Mountain News, “It’s not the kind of poll I would base campaign decisions on.”

Democrat Angie Paccione will get some hefty national money flowing into her race against incumbent Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has earmarked $630,000 for two weeks of television time in the fall.

Said Musgrave, “Gays shouldn’t get married.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez kicked off a statewide campaign tour yesterday. As Chris Frates of The Denver Post reports, Beauprez is hoping to use the August congressional recess to promote his agenda for governor. Of course, nobody has yet seen his agenda for governor, but he swears that one exists.

Did you know Beauprez was a dairy farmer. Oh, yeah. He milked cows silly.

Two big political committees are battling it out over open records requests. Lynn Bartels of the Rocky Mountain News has the story, which is way too complicated to summarize here.

How can we get a job in Fountain, Colorado? Deedee Correll of The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that former Fountain City Manager Greg Nyhoff made $147,000 a year for running an office with only 168 full-time employees in a city of just 21,000 residents.

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Jason Bane

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