Democrats’ legislative agenda leaves citizens with a lot of heavy lifting
One of the most important things to remember in modern politics is: Always lift with your legs. That’s because the output of legislative bodies has gotten quite heavy. And I don’t mean in the sense of the “heavy guitar sound” of the ’60s, but actual weight, both financial and gravity-influenced.
For example, on Friday the Colorado House of Representatives passed a 582-page, $20.5 billion budget. That’s a pretty weighty matter. I’m not certain if some sort of hand truck was involved in delivering copies around the chamber or if pages were required to wear those combination back brace, suspender systems you see at warehouse shopping outlets, but they probably should have been.
This budget is the biggest in Colorado history and, among other things, it increases per-pupil spending in education and gives state employees a 2 percent raise. Republicans weren’t too happy about it, with only nine members on that side of the aisle voting for passage.
This was mainly because, according to CBS 4 in Denver, the GOP idea had been to cut the state budget by 5 percent, which the Democrat majority easily defeated. Then, just to take a sort of victory bunny hop around the chamber, they brought it up later and voted it down again.
According to Channel 4, the largest areas of spending would be $3.1 billion for K-12 education and $2.1 billion for health care policy and financing, which covers Medicaid expenditures. We can expect a further and almost certainly vast expansion in Medicaid spending as new Obamacare rules take effect.
The weight across the citizens’ shoulders will be increased even more in the near future, as Senate Bill 252 demonstrates. This bill, according to The Durango Herald, targets non-urban energy customers by requiring rural energy cooperatives serving more than 100,000 customers to increase the amount of energy they generate from so-called renewable sources from the current mandate of 10 percent to a new target of 25 percent of their total power generation by 2020.
Experience has taught us these “green energy” sources are both considerably less efficient and more expensive than other, more reliable and available sources. This kind of politics first, adequate technology second (or maybe fourth) can’t help but lead to a rise in electrical costs for rural consumers.
For those wondering how this electrical purse-snatching works, they might note a similar mandate was visited upon Xcel Energy in 2010, with a 30 percent target.
The increased costs to the company, according to the Colorado Consumer Coalition, are partially offset by the law allowing it to assess an additional 2 percent on consumers’ bills to cover the increased cost for “green” energy (see why it’s called green). Xcel’s ratepayers’ utility bills “also include a PUC-authorized ‘electrical cost adjustment’ for wind power sources acquired before mid-2006.”
Given the present makeup of the Legislature, these forays into technological fiction and government subsidized corporatism are not likely to end.
If progressives have their way, expensive and inefficient power production will be most of what we have left after legislation is passed to clamp down on natural gas and oil drilling in the state. Effort was also made to prohibit any energy company employee or representative from serving on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Surely they’ll want to follow this with a bill to prohibit union members from participating on state boards and committees.
All this creates a tremendous amount of work and, according to The Durango Herald, State Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, wants to give the governor, attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state a raise.
If this is too much and you want to vote the bums out, the Herald also reports that Democrats are expected to introduce a bill that would make mail-in voting the main system in the state. Republicans are evidently worried the bill will also include same-day registration — allowing someone to register and vote on Election Day. This would solve the argument over asking for photo identification to vote, since we won’t really know who is voting, period. Sort of the ultimate secret ballot.
In short, better get that back strong. You have a lot to carry.
Rick Wagner writes more on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.