2024 Leg Session, Columnists, Jon Caldara, Politics, Uncategorized

Caldara: While the state party implodes, GOP lawmakers lead

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

God hates the Colorado GOP. But oddly not Republican legislators.

The Colorado GOP again became a national laughingstock by suggesting we should burn gay pride flags.

Their blast email, video and slogan “God hates flags,” was of course meant to parrot the Westboro Baptist Church slogan of “God hates fags.”

Admittedly, I don’t know God as well as I should, but I’m guessing he’s downright agnostic on flags. But having a direct channel to the Big Man, GOP Chairman Dave Williams would know better than I.

At this point, one must seriously wonder if the members of the Colorado GOP are being secretly paid by George Soros. What? You got a better theory?

They damaged the ability to have a constructive talk about the real overreach of LGBTQIA+ activism (and I’m pretty sure I got that alphabet soup right, so there, try to cancel me now).

About a year ago during Pride Month, I wrote a column about the head of the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans, the organization of gay Republicans. Their head, Valdamar Archuleta, is an amazing guy who calls himself just a “plain straight gay man.”

He was throwing the BS flag on all the rainbow flags being used to pander to voters and business customers. He beautifully labeled it “rainbow fatigue,” and most of us know what he means.

Pride month has become four weeks of businesses trying to out virtue-signal each other. It would be great to have a conversation on how the gay movement, now that marriage equality has been won and is the rear-view mirror, has been weaponized to push for socialism. And guys like Valdamar are the right people to make the point.

Good thing we have the Colorado GOP to poop in their punch bowl and make any such persuasion from conservatives tainted.

Again, they must be getting paid by the socialist left. If not, they should be. But let’s change venues from the place where Republicans are using subtraction to lose to where they’re using addition to win. Surprisingly, under the Gold Dome.

Republicans were able to extract huge concessions on a property tax remedy with Senate Bill 233.

The punchline of this story is the Republicans in the legislature are not just in the minority, they are in the superminority, with no voice at all. Democrats don’t need the slightest bit of bipartisan support to pass their wildest socialist pipe dreams. And overwhelmingly, that’s just what they usually do.

Thanks to the devastating defeat of Proposition HH and the specter of property tax reform from citizen initiatives this fall, Democrats were willing to listen to Republicans. And the result is not a great bill on property tax reform, but a surprisingly decent one.

The heavy lifting came from Barb Kirkmeyer in the Senate and Lisa Frizell in the House. As a former county commissioner and a former county clerk, they have a handle on the truly bizarre intersections of about 4,000 property taxing districts. If they were not successful and no bill were passed our property taxes would spiral upward next year because the temporary “fix” from last year expires.

Those who were angry at the Gallagher Amendment and worked to repeal it had cause. They’re called commercial property owners. Under the amendment while the tax assessment rate for residential property would drop as property values rose, their assessment rate stayed at an obscenely high 29%.

But after the chaos caused by Gallagher’s repeal, maybe we’ve learned the painful lesson — don’t repeal a core property state amendment without knowing what we’re replacing it with!

Under SB 233 commercial property rates will be reduced over a couple of years to 25%. That’s remarkably good. A citizen’s initiative being circulated now, Initiative 108, would drop it to 24%, so the legislature got remarkably close to what they want.

Residential property assessments will phase down to 6.4%. Considering it is set to return to 7.15%, that’s an amazing concession (better still might be Initiative 108 which brings it to 5.7%. But should that not win at the ballot, we still have this).

All of which to say, the Republicans shooting rubber bands at gay flags and into the eyes of swing voters could learn something from Republicans who are effective, even in a superminority.

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


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