GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes this week said that if he is elected governor Colorado will not accept federal money if it comes with any strings attached.
“They say, ‘here is $500 million but you have to make motorcycle riders wear a helmet,’” Maes said as an example of “the long arm of Washington manipulating our tax dollars.”
It’s difficult to calculate exactly how much federal dollars flow into Colorado each fiscal year but it’s certainly high. Last year’s federal stimulus package will deliver roughly $7 billion into Colorado. The amounts shored up crumbling infrastructure and saved hundreds of education jobs. Mark Sanford approach and refused federal stimulus money for Colorado?
When the stimulus package was announced, Republican governors like Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Sarah Palin of Alaska, Mark Sanford of South Carolina Rick Perry of Texas and Haley Barbour of Mississippi suggested they would reject the federal money. All of those states receive much more money from the federal government than they pay in federal taxes. In 2004, Coloradans paid $1.00 for every $0.70 the federal government sent back to the state. Colorado is a “benefactor” state, paying for states like Alaska and Mississippi. New Mexico, for example, is also a high “beneficiary” state, drawing $2.00 for every $1.00 it pays in taxes.
Maes is adamant, however, based on the anti-Washington views he said he’s hearing from Coloradans around the state.
“People are looking for a governor who will stand up and say no when Washington hangs that money out there. We just have to stand up and say no when there are strings attached it.
“They say ‘We will give you more money if you do this. Whatever those strings are, people are saying that is the long arm of Washington manipulating us and they want someone to say no.”
He said he would not go after Race to the Top money for Colorado schools because accepting the money would amount to “selling out to Washington.”
“We should focus on solving our problems with our own revenue,” he said.