Columnists, Coronavirus, Gold Dome, Governor Polis, Jon Caldara, Uncategorized

Caldara: Polis missed two easy veto opportunities

The special legislative session called by Gov. Polis ended last Wednesday.

And most notably Colorado’s progressive legislature did nothing to rein their governor’s out-of-control emergency powers. That is, they didn’t vote themselves more authority over this or any future governor.

Several bills to require legislative approval over emergency orders after 30 days from being issued by a governor were killed in committee. Imagine if there were a Republican governor in office, not Polis. Might the Democrats have voted differently?

The greatest wreckage in politics happen due to the near-sightedness of partisan politicians.

Some 20 years ago during the fear created by the 9/11 terrorist attacks it was the Republicans who were near-sighted.

On the federal level they passed the Patriot Act, which ever since has put all our private communications under mass bulk government surveillance. The head of the NSA lied about it before Edward Snowden’s crimes proved it.

On the state level Colorado Republicans, who then controlled the legislature, passed new emergency powers for the governor and local authorities. If they only knew that two decades later a Democratic governor and unaccountable county health boards would use their new laws to lock down a free society into martial law for nearly a year.

In another 20 years will the Colorado progressives, who just reaffirmed those unchecked powers, regret it when a Governor-Trump type is in office? Let’s hope we never find out.

This special legislative session passed 10 bills that mostly throw cash at different constituent groups devastated by the government-mandated lockdowns. (Please slap anyone who says COVID closed our schools, businesses, churches and family gatherings. Viruses don’t have the legal authority to do that.)

We can argue about the efficacy of these “relief” bills the governor will surely sign. But two rather tiny looking bills underlie the new, socialistic mindset infecting our once liberty-loving state.

First was a bill to give $5 million of your money to a nonprofit organization that then gives it to poor people to pay their growing electric and gas bills. Feels good. No wonder almost no one voted against it.

But again, Republicans missed the opportunity to address the root cause of families struggling with soaring utilities bills — Colorado’s renewable mandates.

Think about it for a moment. Coal and natural gas prices are at the lowest in some 20 years. At the same time U.S. electricity demand is at its lowest in some 20 years thanks to conservation and energy efficiency. So, by every law of economics, power bills must be the lowest in 20 years. Supply is high and demand is low. Why then are energy bills, which disproportionately hurt the poor, higher than ever? (Not a trick question.)

This bill only adds to the growing scam of skyrocketing utilities bills due to crony renewable games. Screw the middle class with higher taxes to help the poor with “charity” to pay for expensive energy. And then screw the middle class again with higher energy bills thanks to mandates.

Another special session bill sets the stage for price controls, always a favorite of socialists and economically illiterate Republicans.

House Bill 1005 allows counties and municipalities to cap the “fees” third-party delivery companies, like Uber Eats and GrubHub, charge restaurants to deliver their food.

A handful of Republicans actually voted for this market-killing obscenity.

Sens. Tate, Holbert, Crowder, Coram and Hill, were you guys smoking crack or did some tight-shirted lobbyist wink at you? Or maybe you’re just fans of Nixon’s price controls in 1970.

And in a complete orgy of hypocrisy this bill mandates any fee charged to a restaurant be disclosed to the end customer by Uber Eats and GrubHub.

Remember, this is the same legislature that mandated their massive tax increase (which you didn’t get to vote on) — a hospital bed tax called the hospital provider “fee”— never shows up on your hospital bill. In fact, earlier this year they again killed a bill that would allow hospitals to disclose this “fee” to you.

Gov. Polis loves it when media outlets label him libertarian-leaning. He does support our flat-rate income tax and understands something of business, but in signing these two bills into law he missed an easy opportunity to prove his libertarian bona fides and economic street cred.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.

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