In the final days of the Colorado legislative session, I saw something I have never seen in the last five years. A couple of spectacular fumbles by our otherwise politically flawless governor.
I’m talking “ESPN highlights of the week” kind of fumbles from a guy that normally plays like Tom Brady.
When I say “flawless,” I don’t mean he is implementing good policy or leading Colorado in the right direction or running state government as an effective chief operating officer. I can’t mean that because he has ushered in the most dangerous and devastating policies and political changes in Colorado history which, if left unchanged, will inevitably bankrupt this once liberty-loving state.
I mean “flawless” in terms of being a slick politician, remaining high in approval polls, and keeping his sycophantic media with him like a rich lady keeps a toy Shih Tzu in her carry-a-long purse.
No one should ever underestimate how politically savvy Jared Polis is, how quick on his feet he is, how quickly he can change his speech to masterfully sound like he is a genuine member of whatever group he is talking with, and therefore make that group feel like he is working on their behalf, and how much money he has to spend to get to whatever end he wishes.
So, even for a casual political observer, it was surprising that the last week of the legislative session was the most publicly bungled, disorganized, schizophrenic, rudderless week of his governorship.
The most impressive fumble was the mishandling of his much anticipated, much ballyhooed, “here I come to save the day,” property tax relief bill.
The governor had TWO YEARS to take the lead on how to handle the massive, massive tax bills that are rolling our way now that his legislature conned voters to repeal the Gallagher Amendment.
But in the very opposite of leadership he waited until eight days before the end of session to drop a shell game of a bill that was too cute by half.
Senate Bill 303 merely stole our TABOR refunds from our right pocket and put them into our left, relabeled as a tiny bit of property tax relief, with the real cost being losing our TABOR refunds forever and ever in just a couple of years.
Property tax issues are complex. Hell, the governor can usually count on most legislators not understanding the issue. How surprised he must have been when the media he thought he had on a leash started realizing it wasn’t going to solve their own property tax problems.
As Kyle Clark from 9NEWS opined on the sleight-of-hand of Jared’s scam: “Governor Polis, he’s a smart man. That doesn’t mean Coloradans are dumb … like earlier this week when the governor proposed reducing property tax increases by using our own TABOR refunds, giving you some of your own money and claiming that he’s saving you money. Come on.”
The bill was so rushed it referenced the wrong referendum for this fall’s ballot. As the news site CompleteColorado.com broke, the bill meant to refer to Proposition II, but wrongly referred to Proposition HH.
This means either the governor must call a special session to fix their own sloppiness, or the Secretary of State is going to have to do regulatory somersaults to fix it for them.
Poor leadership leads to rushed jobs, which leads to bad governance.
The next fumble is the guv’s signature bill which promised a home for every budget, Senate Bill 213. Built on the faulty premise that increased density means lower home prices, it would have stripped local governments of much of their local zoning authority.
The Democratic governor who sits on top of a legislature with a super majority Democratic House and an all but one vote supermajority state Senate watched his signature bill fly into a brick wall and splat to death on the last day of the session.
This is one of those highlight-reel fumbles where the guy keeps dropping the football and kicking it as he tries to pick it back up.
What it really showed is trouble in paradise.
Apparently, the progressive mob that runs our state government is starting to have the seven-year itch. The ultra-progressives and simple leftists are squabbling for control.
What’s the old saying about absolute power?
At least no one’s talking about our “libertarian” governor anymore.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.
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