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

Caldara: Polis’ secret police come for your gas-powered lawn mower

(You can listen to this column, read by the author, here.)

Gov. Jared Polis has his own secret police.

They create their laws without the approval or even review of any of our directly elected representatives.

We must live by their edicts or be punished as they see fit.

The governor has sole tyrannical authority to appoint his secret police, just like Stalin.

OK, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement. Maybe.

Since we just celebrated the Fourth of July, it’s worth remembering our forefathers dumped a bunch of tea into a harbor to protest “taxation without representation.”

So, the idea that we directly elect our representatives to make policy decisions is an indispensable, foundational American value.

When one guy appoints his cronies–stooges we don’t directly elect–and those thugs make decisions we must live by, well that’s the opposite of representative government.

Even if we did elect that guy to sign or veto bills, it brings us a lot closer to why we threw a bunch of tea into a harbor when he does an end-run around our representatives.

Let’s take our state legislature, as overwhelmingly progressive as they are. They considered a bill to prohibit the sale and even advertising of devices with “small, off-road engines” — such as lawn mowers and leaf blowers. And they refused to pass it.

Attention — I repeat: our duly elected representatives, who were sworn in without Capitol riots, insurrections or nothing, these ultraprogressive legislators declined to outlaw gasoline-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers.

So controversial, so disliked was the idea of banning these items the Democrat who wrote the bill had to pull the anti-lawn mower/leaf blower language out of his Senate Bill 22-138 for it to survive.

So, as we just learned, the governor’s unelected secret police might just outlaw the mowers despite our elected representatives’ expressed votes. Who are these Stasi?

They are call the Air Quality Control Commission. They are as powerful as the unelected, all-governor-appointed Public Utilities Commission, the good mafioso folks who continue to raise our electric rates for their buddies at Xcel. And “mafioso” power isn’t an overstatement. For both these two commissions (even that sounds mobbed-up) answer to only one Don. Don Polis.

All this begs a simple question: A legislature that’s willing to ban shopping bags should be more than willing to criminalize the preferred choice of violent drug lords when they’re gardening — those gas-powered, assault leaf blowers.

So why have a faceless committee of thugs do the dirty work?

Simple: because the anti-fossil fuels mob under the Gold Dome doesn’t want their fingerprints on the murder, we hire nameless thugs.

Even Polis can wash his hands of this and claim that “regulators” made this unpopular decision, with most not asking the follow-up question, “you mean your hand-picked regulators made the decision, Governor?”

It’s one of the many, many ways our “libertarian” governor continues to say he tries to “keep government off the backs of Coloradans.”

The recommendation that the commission will use to consider this ban comes from the Regional Air Quality Council. But by their own numbers, they admit this lawn equipment doesn’t create any ozone problems.

According to RAQC, lawn and garden equipment adds 2.5 ppb (parts per billion) to our “summertime ozone concentrations.” Yet natural and background sources, like plants and wildfires (including a lot from out of state) create 48.6 ppb.

It’s worth remembering Gov. Polis rescinded previous Gov. John Hickenlooper’s application for a waiver to the EPA for noncompliance on ozone because, duh, it had nothing to do with anything Coloradans did.

So, because the governor yanked that waiver the EPA is requiring a reformulation of our gasoline costing us about $0.50 more a gallon. And recall Polis wrote a letter to the EPA “outraged” that they were doing so, but took no responsibility for being the cause of it (sensing “hey, it wasn’t because of me” theme?).

And by the end of the year, in opposition to our elected officials vote, Polis’s crew may well ban gardening equipment.

The legislature did give a 30% cash incentive (more of your tax money, less of your TABOR refund checks) for folks to buy electric lawn equipment. That might help homeowners but does nothing for small businesses who need powerful, long-lasting equipment.

These companies are often owned and almost always employ minorities, particularly Hispanics. You know, the people Democrats say they work for.

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


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