2021 Leg Session, Columnists, Featured, Jon Caldara, Local, Politics, Uncategorized

Caldara: The Democrats’ ‘local control’ lie

When is “local control” not local control? Whenever the current progressive state legislature increases local control, that’s when.

Don’t worry. You won’t be confused in a moment.

We Coloradans generally like having governmental authority close to us rather than centralized in some place far away. It’s a lot easier getting in touch with your local school board member than it is getting a meeting with the governor.

And because of this Coloradans get heavily taxed on the local level, not just the state level.

According to the Tax Foundation, we’re 14th highest in the country for state individual income tax collections per capita. New York is first, California (our spirit-animal state) is second. For state and local general sales tax collections per capita, we’re 14th, even more costly than California at 16th.

Congrats, we’re more Cali than Cali. You now have full authorization to laugh at anyone who says we’re a low-tax state.

Anyway, with over 5,000 local governments and special districts (yes, you read that right) the power that controls you most is in your backyard, not under the gold dome in Denver.

Since the progressive takeover, the legislature has been abusing our penchant for local control by giving us more of it. They’ve given municipalities more power over all sorts of things like oil and gas development, tobacco, minimum wage and now gun control.

Except there’s one small problem. It’s a complete lie.

There’s a better chance that the governor’s vegan-activist husband would throw a pig roast than they would allow ANY local government in Colorado to expand freedom in any of these areas.

Local governments now have new authority to hinder oil and gas development, but no authority to expand it.

Local governments have new authority to raise taxes on tobacco and vape products, and to restrict or ban their sale, but no authority to lower taxes or regulations.

Local governments have new authority to raise their minimum wage, but no authority to lower it.

Local governments now have new authority to rip away our Second Amendment rights. They can tax and/or ban guns, magazines, and ammunition AND, if you are a concealed carry permit holder, limit where you can lawfully carry your weapon.

None of this increases local control. All of this creates a command-and-control rachet that only goes in one direction — toward their intolerant progressive goals.

For instance, the new anti-gun law says, “Local governments are uniquely equipped to make determinations as to regulations necessary in their local jurisdictions.”

This would seem to mean that, say, a town has the authority to let anyone allowed to own a gun also carry it concealed without a permit (Called “Constitutional Carry,” it’s the law in states like Texas).

But the very same law says any local ordinance may NOT impose any gun control “That is less restrictive than state law.” So, the previous statement in the same new law is a falsehood.

This is just more of what the Colorado progressive machine has perfected — changing the rules of the game so that their future victories are assured while banning even the chance of their opponents gaining ground.

Oil-and gas-rich Weld County wants to make it easier to drill. Too bad.

Can a town with severe unemployment lower the minimum wage to help both small businesses and those needing a first step in employment? Nope. Screw ‘em.

Our overlords say they support local control, but they only support local manipulation towards their ends.

You have further permission to laugh at anyone who says Colorado Democrats support local control.

This is part of a long-term play. Take the new gun law. Soon enough we will have a crazy patchwork of gun laws.

Boulder will again make me a criminal for owning a rifle that looks scary to them. Aspen, Fort Collins, Broomfield, Denver and all the other intolerant towns will follow suit and put in a mishmash of anti-gun laws.

We’ll have a confusing statewide patchwork of conflicting laws. Folks won’t know if they are criminals when they cross the street and step into a different municipality.

Then the “solution” will be a call for overriding statewide gun restrictions. So, at some point the whole state will live under Boulder’s bigoted laws.

Just wait for it.

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

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