Monday, March 30, 2009

Didn't get the memo

Today the Colorado Senate passed a global warming joint resolution. It’s titled “Concerning Recognition of Colorado’s Cool Cities”, but it was really an Al Gore would be proud sop to carbon dioxide caused global warming.

As a side bar, I think Wray, Colorado (my home town) is the “coolest city” in the state. We have our own little stream running through town, nice hills and bluffs surrounding town, a couple of good places to eat, a nice swimming pool and the best coffee shop on the planet.

Back to the farce: Senator Rollie Heath from, you guessed it, Boulder, introduced the resolution.

Apparently he missed the memo from the eco-commies who changed the term “global warming” to “climate change” when it became apparent that while CO2 emissions continue to rise, global temperatures are going down. They have been for ten years.

Senators Renfroe and Lundberg had fun pointing out the facts about global warming. Senator Heath said, “I don’t want to get into an argument about global warming”.

At that point I went up and pointed out that he should at least make the case for his resolution, but I’d be voting against it because “anthropogenic global warming is a farce”.

End of debate: the resolution passed on a straight party line vote.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


It’s just shameless.

The Colorado General Assembly seeks to increase fees on hospitals by almost $1 million per day rising to nearly $2 million per day in just three years.

The 33 small hospitals in the state start out paying $203,886 per year; the large ones will pay $14,129,302 per year. The total collected will be $336,411,944 in the first year. In the final year, 2012, full implementation of all the fees will raise $629,365,211!

And the hospitals are strongly in favor of this.

Why? Because the fee increase will be leveraged to collect additional federal funds of $209,743,600 in the first year and $508,827,172 in the final year of implementation and growing every year after that, forever.

Or maybe not. Did anyone notice that the federal government is broke? They are going to have a $1.8 Trillion deficit this year and even with the rosiest projections available, will have a $1 Trillion deficit every year for the next ten years. And that’s rosy? The real answer is that they are broke and at some point this fantasy of having Uncle Obama pay for everything will end.

And then what?

Then maybe, just maybe, we’ll go back to funding only those things that government absolutely has to fund.

Back to the hospital fee and bait and switch. The hospitals pay in one dollar and they get back one dollar and fifty eight cents. Easy to see why the hospitals think it is a good idea. They’ll get the money in increased rates paid to them and in a significant increase in the number of Medicaid patients, about 158,000 total additional people when fully implemented.

It amounts to a $1 billion a year expansion into socialized medicine.
It’s HB09-1293 and it is unconscionable.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Top Ten Worst Bills of the Session

The session is a little over the half way point and I have finished my top ten list of dumbest bills of the year. There may be more to come, but for now here’s the list with humorous bills at the top and exceptionally bad bills at the bottom.

1. The Plastic Bag Reduction Act -- that’s right a law to ban the use of plastic bags in grocery stores. Of course the stores would then switch to paper bags which fill up landfills at three times the rate plastic bags do. No doubt someone tried to ban the use of paper bags thirty years ago to save trees.
2. The Cat Identification Law for Cities – someone cares so much about fluffy that they wanted a law requiring micro chips in cats. Really.
3. Protect Public Safety Control Coyotes – this was a bill that would have required the Division of Wildlife to make controlling coyotes in cities their top priority. To really understand this you have to pronounce coyotes like the cities folks do: kie-oh-tees. At least these kie-oh-tees will be easy to find after all the city kitties have micro chips in them.
4. Utilities Disclose Carbon Footprint bill – this year’s global warming bill. Now, you too, can be like Al Gore and buy your own carbon offsets.
5. Require Physical Activities in Schools – the mandatory recess bill. Do you think we could apply this to legislators? Ever noticed the condition of most lawmakers?
6. Ban Use of Cell Phones While Driving – no word when the ban on coffee, cheeseburgers, IPods, farding, or kids in the car will be offered.
7. Mandatory Parental Leave – not making the parents go anywhere, just telling businesses that they have to allow parents time off to attend school activities.
8. In-state Tuition of Illegal Aliens – legislating by compassion instead of principle
9. The Car Tax – a quarter of a billion dollar tax increase during a recession. The Governor calls it FASTER. I call it pulling a fast one.
10. Flexibility to Use State Revenues – this is the worst fiscal policy ever introduced in Colorado. The bill will remove state spending caps so entitlement spending can grow unchecked during prosperous times leading to a fiscal train wreck during times of recession. This sets up Colorado for the same type of budgetary problems that California is currently experiencing.

Some of these bills have already been dispatched to the paper shredder in the sky, but the Car Tax has been signed into law. Numbers 8 and 10 have come out of committee in the Senate and are awaiting final Senate passage.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Daylight Savings Time

I’m tired.

It always happens at this “switching” time of the year. We lose an hour of sleep on Saturday night and feel the effects until the next weekend.

I actually have come to love Daylight Savings Time (DST). It gives me more time in the evening to do stuff I want to do.

Back when I was farming full time, DST just meant that I got home an hour later. It was challenging to stay on task and remember that the kid’s program was about to start. Dairy farmers really don’t like it because cows expect to be milked at the same time of the day everyday and are less than supportive of our clock manipulations.

The research team at the Capitol has written an interesting memo on DST: Colorado could choose to stay on standard time year around if we wanted, but we could only stay on DST year around with permission of the US Congress.

Arizona is the only state to take the pass on DST.

I’d prefer to stay on DST year around. Yes, it would make sunrise happen really late in December and January, but who cares, nothing good happens early in those months anyway.

I live on the far eastern edge of the Mountain Time Zone. It is 10 miles to the Central Time zone in Kansas; a little further in Nebraska. The clock is cruel to me no matter what. I have often called my brother who lives across the state and found that he was still out working when it was completely dark at my house.

In Wray, we’d be stuck on the fringes either way; I’d choose DST year around.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fiscal Train Wreck

The Colorado Senate is poised to pass SB09-228 by John Morse (D-Colorado Springs). It is the worst fiscal bill I’ve seen in my career, probably the worst ever.

What it will do is remove the spending cap on state government that has been in place since 1977. The spending cap covers mostly entitlement programs and was lowered from 7% to 6% in 1991.

The cap is currently called Arveschoug – Bird, after the sponsors of the bill that lowered the limit in 1991.

Having a cap has kept the state from growing programs too fast during times of high revenue by shifting any money that comes in over the 6% cap into highway and building construction. In times of low revenue, the highway and building construction is the first cut out, leaving less, and sometimes none to be cut from programs.

The limit has kept Colorado out problems like the fiscal train wreck that California had this year. California was $42 billion short in a $140 billion budget. Colorado was about $600 million short in a $18.5 billion budget. California has a huge problem, Colorado has to make a few cuts in the rate of growth, not real cuts, just a cut in the rate of growth.

I’d much rather have our situation than theirs.